France: university strikes and occupations against the LRU continue

Nanterre university blockade

Students across France have been voting on the next step in the ongoing struggle against the so-called reforms of the LRU law.

Submitted by jef costello on November 28, 2007

On Monday the government announced a 50% increase in university budgets over the next five years and also vowed to spend 11M on student housing.

Today (Tuesday) some 2000 people, mostly schoolchildren marched from Republique to Tolbiac, behind the banner 'Pas de négociation sans abrogation' (no negotiation before the law is withdrawn). Some 20 lycées are blocked in Paris, with Paris I, II, III, IV and VII universities also blocked. Paris X (Nanterre) also voted overwhelmingly at an AG with over 1000 present to continue strike action until next Monday and to begin an occupation. A motion of solidarity with the rioters in Villiers-le-Bel and six other areas and condemning police action was passed, albeit narrowly with many abstentions.

Paris VIII university is hosting a day long conference against the LRU and designed to coordinate resistance on Saturday, it is unclear whether the university is currently blockaded.

Rennes II: in a disturbing development the President of the University called on teachers to 'dislodge' those on the blockades, apparently using the phrase "we'll retake the buildings one by one". Most teachers refused any part of it, a small number, helped by some students attacked the blockades, throwing chairs and punches. Indymedia is reporting numerous injuries, even the mainstream press admits three. This open incitation to violence, officially addressed to teachers but aimed at students is a very dangerous development.

Lille I and II both voted to continue strike action until December 3rd with Lille II voting to continue until December 2nd. Teachers at Lille I also voted to continue solidarity strike action. With university presidents demanding secret ballots and internet votes in the hope of gaining victory it is good to note that the internet vote at Lille II, although very close, was still won. Students have set up a program of conferences, debates, workshops self-defence lessons and film screenings for the following days. 3-4000 students and schoolchildren marched in Lille where at least three lycées are blockaded, with a further three in the nearby town of Amiens.

Caen at last three lycées Malherbe, Victor Lépine and Rostand saw occupations forcibly ended by police. At least 12 other lycées in the area are either entirely blockaded or organised blockades to go on demonstrations. They have also organised joint actions with striking students who are running a series of events at the occupied campus.

Rouen, an AG voted yesterday to continue the blockade and there was a celebration to mark the one month anniversary of the beginning of the blockade. This morning at least four lycées were blockaded (Sembat, Bruyères, Saint-Saens, Jeanne d'Arc). A march of students and schoolchildren was blockaded by police with many forced to submit to identity checks and have their photographs taken.

Toulouse, the Mirail campus has been closed administratively with the university president denouncing a violent anti-democratic attack. The statement was unusally vague about those responsible, suggesting, that like all of the confirmed violence so far, it was actually carried out by right-wing students. At least 12 lycées in the region are blockaded with a further four definitely blockaded in Toulouse where a 2000 strong march took place. In a neighbouring town four lycées were blockaded and 800 schoolchildren marched.

Grenoble, some 1500 schoolchildren and students marched through the town, blocking roads and calling on those still in lessons to join them, mostly unsuccesfully. A vote to continue the blockade was won later in the afternoon.

Poitiers, the university and at least one lycée are blockaded. There are also plans to block seven strategic road junctions in the town from 6am tomorrow.

Montpellier II the blockade has ended but the strike continues, Montpellier II remains closed administratively.

Reims: university blockaded until Wednesday, with a sit-in today by students and schoolchildren outside the education authority.

Perpignan, university still blockaded with a 600-strong march through the town today.

In Brittany the authorities are claiming only three or four lycées are blockaded, although in nearby Nantes 12 are certainly blockaded.

In Bordeaux up to 2000 marchers took to the streets, there were between 850 and 2000 in Lyon and 800 in St Etienne where there were unsuccesful attempts to blockade the train station.