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Protesters clash with police at anti-nuclear demo in France

Police used water cannon and fired tear gas and stun grenades Tuesday as they battled with demonstrators protesting at plans to store nuclear waste at an underground site in northeastern France.

Protesters clash with police at anti-nuclear demo in France
Bugey nuclear power plant in Saint-Vulbas. AFP
Protest organisers said six people were badly hurt and about 30 lightly injured in the clash in Bure.
   
The local prefecture said that, according to calls to the emergency services, at least three demonstrators had been injured.
   
Two gendarmes were hurt by a “home-made device thrown by protestors”, the prefecture said.
 
Around 300 protestors took part in the demonstration, some of them helmeted and wielding stones, sticks and Molotov cocktails, the authorities said.
   
The rally was held to oppose plans to store highly radioactive waste 500 metres (1,640 feet) underground at a nearby site — the dangerous long-term by-product of France's extensive nuclear energy programme.
   
Debate over Bure has been raging for years, pitching France's vocal environmental lobby against its powerful nuclear industry.
   
In July, the National Agency for the Management of Radioactive Waste (ANDRA) said construction of the storage site would start in 2022 at the earliest.
   
But earlier this month, a national watchdog, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), declared it had “reservations” about the project.
 
It cited uncertainty about how highly inflammable waste would respond if temperatures rose.

PROTESTS

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

Students blockaded five schools in Paris on Tuesday to demonstrate their political concerns ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections on Sunday.

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

In addition to the five blockaded lycées, the université Paris 8 in Saint-Denis was closed “for security reasons”.

The students – who are too young to make their voices heard at the ballot box – were protesting against the options available to voters in the second round – where incumbent Emmanuel Macron takes on far-right leader Marine Le Pen – and follows earlier student protests at the Sorbonne.

Many were demonstrating in protest at what they saw as inadequate policies on climate change and social issues from both candidates in the final round of voting, as well as the lack of choice for the electorate.

“It is a continuation of what happened at the Sorbonne,” one student told AFP. “We want a third social round, because the two candidates qualified for the second round have no social or ecological programmes. 

“We want to give a new breath to this Fifth Republic a little at the end of the race.

“We are fed up with the fascist state. We are here against Marine Le Pen, against fascism, for the climate and against capitalism,” another student at the lycée Louis-le-Grand in the capital’s fifth arrondissement said.

“We have blocked all the entrances. We will stay there as long as possible.”

About 100 students blockaded the prestigious school. Some students chant slogans against the “Front National” – the former name of second-round candidate Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party.

The blockades ended peacefully at the end of the day.

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