Riot police last night fired rubber pellets and tear gas at students who pelted them with petrol bombs and stones as protests at new labour laws boiled over in the heart of Paris.
Police fought running battles with the rioters, who set cars alight and smashed shop windows near the Sorbonne on the Left Bank.
Many of the youths threw paving stones, metal street barriers and tables and chairs ripped from nearby cafes as they taunted police with cries of "CRS equals SS", comparing France's riot squads to Hitler's forces.
The CRS responded with a water cannon, tear gas, baton charges and rubber pellets to disperse the rioters, who formed a very small minority of the demonstrators. Police said they arrested 150 people, and that 35 officers suffered injuries.
It later emerged that a handful of people, thought to be from the far right, were taken in for questioning after attacks on protesters. Wearing helmets and holding batons, they chanted "leftists, get out of our faculties" before being dispersed by riot police.
More barricades formed after anti-CPE demonstrators were attacked by a crowd of armed fascists.
Students also disrupted rail services in about a dozen towns and cities across the country, the state rail operator said. Youths threw stones at police and vandalised cars in the eastern city of Nancy, while Toulouse University closed after clashes between students who wanted it shut in protest and those who wanted it kept open. Riot police dislodged about 100 students who occupied the city hall at Rennes in north-western France.
Video of last nights rioting
Taken from today's Guardian