France: Student day of action, early reports

Nanterre University

A national day of action, with demonstrations and continued action by student strikes was called for today.

Submitted by jef costello on December 6, 2007

Most demonstrations are to take place in the afternoon, with militants trying to convince as many students as possible during the morning to join demonstrations and mass actions.

In Paris at least six lycées (Arago, Victor-Hugo, Fénelon, Jacques-Decour, Gabriel-Fauré and Claude-Monet) are totally blockaded by students, the mass media is focussing on the headteacher of Arago, Victor-Hugo, Fénelon, Jacques-Decour, Gabriel-Fauré et Claude-Monet Arago who sprained her ankle. Reports of student injuries from CS gas, rubber bullets and truncheons are harder to find.

In the Haut-Rhin region there have been reports of clashes between some 300 lycéens and police. The students are accused of starting a confrontation by throwing stones at windows and police lines. At least five students have been arrested, with police firing tear gas grenades at demonstrators.

In Paris Tolbiac is reported to be blocked for the most part and Clignancourt is at least partially blockaded. At the Sorbonne clashes have been reported between striking students and non-strikers. During the anti-CPE struggle there were clashes like this, but this time there has been a deliberate and open strategy by university teachers and presidents of inciting conflict between students.

At Nanterre university on Monday there was a serious attempt by students to storm the administration building after the AG. Students were angered by the behaviour of the university President. Eventually he agreed to banalise Thursday, that is to cancel the day's teaching, to allow students to attend the demonstration. However rather than simply declaring this he 'requested' that heads of department do it, meaning that while some departments, such as English, will close and allow their students to attend the demonstration while others, such as law, will not and students will be considered absent.

The education minister Valérie Pécresse has called on students to end the strikes, 'for the sake of those who have exams', completely ignoring the fact that striking students also want to take and pass their exams. This is a continuation of government rhetoric, treating striking students and workers as wreckers who want to hold customers, other students etc to ransom.