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CJ07
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:11 AM
B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Things are really going rediculous over there. Their government which is liberal and socialist enough is finally starting to show cracks and people are wising up. Well not really fiscally, but at least socially there is some protest
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/16/AR2006031601908.html

French Students Hit Streets To Protest New Labor Law
Swelling Unrest Seen as Threat to Ruling Party
By Molly Moore
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, March 17, 2006; Page A13

PARIS, March 16 -- An estimated 250,000 students took to the streets of Paris and major cities across France on Thursday, escalating a political rebellion by the country's younger generation against a government that is floundering in its attempts to restructure a moribund economy.

Some protesters wore black garbage bags to symbolize their charge that the government treats young people as disposable workers. The demonstrations were largely peaceful, but at the end, about 250 people clashed with riot police in a popular Parisian tourist and shopping area.



Students in Rennes, in western France, march to protest implementation of a new law that will make it easier to fire young workers. (By Vincent Michel -- Associated Press)
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The protests have expanded rapidly in the past week, from a few campus demonstrations to turnouts in 80 cities and towns Thursday. They could undermine the political party of President Jacques Chirac ahead of next year's presidential and parliamentary election campaigns, political analysts here say.

Strikes and street protests are as common as spring showers in France. But the student rallies have been particularly troubling to the government because of their rapid spread, the threat of participation by labor unions and the historical power of students in France. A student protest that began at Paris's famous Sorbonne university in 1968 and spread to schools and factories across the country led to the resignation of President Charles de Gaulle.

This week, students were protesting a newly passed law that has the support of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, a leading presidential candidate from Chirac's party. The measure, due to go into effect in April, will make it easier to hire and fire young people at a time when the youth unemployment rate averages 23 percent.

The protesters' anger focuses on provisions that will allow companies to fire employees under 26 at any time during their first two years of work, without cause.

"They're offering us nothing but slavery," said Maud Pottier, 17, a student at Jules Verne High School in Sartrouville, north of Paris, who was wrapped in layers of scarves as protection against the chilly, gray day. "You'll get a job knowing that you've got to do every single thing they ask you to do because otherwise you may get sacked. I'd rather spend more time looking for a job and get a real one."

Business leaders complain that existing French labor laws make it virtually impossible to dismiss incompetent employees without giving them prohibitively costly severance packages. As a result, the leaders say, many companies are either relying increasingly on temporary workers or not hiring at all.

Many economists blame the strict laws for the country's lifeless economy.

The catalyst for the new law was the wave of rioting that swept cities across France last fall. Young men and boys from low-income, suburban, immigrant housing projects where the unemployment rate tops 40 percent burned cars, public buildings and businesses in a three-week spree of anger directed at what the youths considered an unresponsive government.

The violence severely damaged the reputation of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy -- another likely presidential candidate and Villepin's main rival within the ruling Union for a Popular Movement party.

The new law has drawn a mixed reaction among unemployed youths who lack college educations and live in France's poorest communities. But it is strongly opposed by college students, who say it discriminates against young workers by not giving them the same protections as older ones.

"This is an alternative to unemployment that isn't acceptable," said Boris Canepa, 22, who studies health safety and the environment at the University of Paris XIII in the northern suburban area of Saint-Denis, where last fall's riots began.

About 200 students from the city of Rouen in northwestern France descended from train cars in Paris on Thursday chanting and singing, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words "knockdown prices," a reference to their belief that the government is selling out young workers at bargain prices.

More than 100 students on bicycles blocked streets surrounding the Louvre Museum, piggybacking on the main student demonstrations to protest cuts in school sports coaching staffs.

Near the end of the demonstration, about 250 youths threw rocks at police and set fire to a newspaper kiosk in the square between the Bon Marché department store and the city's renowned Hotel Lutetia. Police fired tear gas to break up the group.

In the southern city of Toulouse, students supporting the marches and strikes fought with youths who were arguing to keep the local university open. Police dispersed protesters in Rennes, in the west, who attacked cars and set garbage bins ablaze. Other demonstrators temporarily disrupted rail traffic in the southwestern city of Bordeaux and at a Paris station.

The French Interior Ministry put the total national turnout at nearly 250,000. The national students' union said about 330,000 people took part.

Most of the nation's colleges and universities have been shut down or partially closed in recent weeks because of protests. Last Saturday, Paris police stormed the campus of the Sorbonne to forcibly remove demonstrators.

Villepin has drawn criticism from within his own party over the new law and has dropped in popularity polls to a record low of 36 percent. After a meeting at the Labor Ministry on Thursday, Villepin said he was "open to dialogue" about the law but did not indicate that he would back away from it.

During the demonstration in Paris on Thursday, Antoine du Couessin, a third-year history student, stopped among the banners and chanting protesters to snap a photo of a man peering down at the street from his balcony. "Back to work!" the man shouted angrily at the demonstrators.

The man was Couessin's father. "He's 100 percent behind" the proposed law, Couessin said. "It's really difficult at home right now. I just go straight for my bedroom."

Researcher Marie Valla contributed to this report.

hablo
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:25 AM
I think they are right to protest...I can't believe the government passed this law !! :eek:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4812132.stm

Violence flares at French rallies

A number of outbreaks of violence occurred in Paris
Protests have turned violent in France as at least 250,000 people rallied against a controversial new labour law.
The worst violence was in Paris, where riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas, and was reported in some of the other 80 cities holding rallies.

Protesters object to new two-year job contracts for under-26s which employers can break off without explanation.

President Jacques Chirac has appealed for talks, but says the new law is important to fight unemployment.

'Slave labour'

The march in Paris, which police said was attended by 30,000 but which organisers put at 120,000-strong, was mainly peaceful.


However, a group of about 300 masked protesters threw missiles at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

A newspaper stand and a number of cars were set on fire and protesters at the symbolic Sorbonne University - where street protests shook France in 1968 - pelted police with stones and bottles and chanted slogans comparing them to the Nazi SS.

Clashes went on into the evening and the interior ministry said there had been about 150 arrests in Paris, along with at least 50 more elsewhere.

Two officers and a student were slightly hurt in scuffles in the northern Paris suburb of Raincy.

Six people were arrested and two officers hurt in Vitry-sur-Seine, south-east of Paris.

Police also fired tear gas in the eastern city of Rennes and a small number of injuries were reported in Nancy, Nantes and Montpellier.

Police put the number of protesters nationwide at 250,000 but organisers said it was double that.

Student leaders cited an opinion poll showing 68% support for the protests, while union bosses called for further street protests on Saturday.

Banners on Thursday read "Slave labour by the back door" and "If you take away our security, you'll pay".

"You can't live with a knife at your throat," one of the protesters, 21-year-old film student Sophie Cojan, said.

Police were under orders to be firm with troublemakers but to show general restraint, the interior ministry said.

Employment aim

Students fear the First Employment Contract (CPE), which passed into law last week, will erode job stability in a country where more than 20% of 18- to 25-year-olds are unemployed - more than twice the national average.

Mr Chirac has called for dialogue between ministers and labour leaders, but union officials say they will not enter into talks until the CPE is suspended.

The government of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin proposed the law to help youths in the French suburbs who took to the streets last year, many unhappy with the lack of employment opportunities.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says the worry for the French government is that, as in May 1968, French students are expressing wider disenchantment with a government that is seen as remote and out of touch.

Solitaire
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:30 AM
I think they are right to protest...I can't believe the government passed this law !! :eek:


:lol: Don't be shocked! Any government will do whatever it takes to screw the people over esp when it comes to big business and that includes the "enlightened" French government.

gsm
Mar 17th, 2006, 05:39 AM
Villepin has drawn criticism from within his own party over the new law and has dropped in popularity polls to a record low of 36 percent.
same as pres bush :)

dania
Mar 17th, 2006, 06:06 AM
What kind of a dumb law is that,it`s discriminating,it basically sais that a young person doesn`t have the same rights as everyone else.They`re right to protest.

CJ07
Mar 17th, 2006, 06:10 AM
I think whats stupid is that they dont realize their youth is their future.

And they're pissing their youth off