France is going through a reform period. Now in the second year of his presidency, President Emmanuel Macron is taking on the unions to reform labor law and the universities to introduce a merit-based system for entry into public faculties.
Everyone knew that this was coming and many are even surprised that it took the President so long to introduce these reforms because as the French are culturally opposed to change, this will be a long fight.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🆘‼😯🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/France?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#France</a>: several masked thugs in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Montpellier?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Montpellier</a>, armed with tasers and truncheons, stormed the lecture hall of the "Law School" and beat up the students (the students had occupied the lecture hall). Flourishing times in the EU. <a href="https://t.co/MfymES7PII">pic.twitter.com/MfymES7PII</a></p>— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) <a href="https://twitter.com/OnlineMagazin/status/977260558343909379?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 23, 2018</a></blockquote>
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In the universities, far-left opponents of the reform fear that this reform will lead to a class-based system and have therefore started occupying some of the faculties.
For example, in university halls in Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, and Lille students have mobilized ‘en masse’ with demonstrations and blockades. This has led to several confrontations between those students not supporting the strikes (who say that now is not the time as exams are just a month away) and those saying that if they don’t strike now, reform will be shoved through hastily.
Riot police had to be deployed in the southern city of Bordeaux (on the Atlantic ocean) to evacuate strikers, but the worst violence has been in Montpelier (also in the south, but near the Mediterranean sea), where the Dean of the faculty of law and one of his teaching staff are now being investigated by police for allegedly taking part in a masked attack on striking students.
In these events, masked men, applauded by several teachers, beat up protesting students in the university faculty, much like strikebreakers from the 1920s and 1930s.
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Several videos of the events were placed on social media.