Last week already, some 300 French high schools, known as lycées, were barricaded every day amid scenes of vandalism, bins set on fire and violent clashes between police and students.
The tense standoff made international headlines on Thursday when video footage posted on social media showed riot police in a Paris suburb forcing dozens of students to kneel down in rows, their hands on their heads.
The parents of the children vowed to join the yellow vest (gilets jaunes) movement and demanded President Macron’s dismissal (Macron Démission).
Today that protest movement is once again out in the streets in what they’ve called ‘Mardi Noir’ or ‘Black Tuesday’.
As it is being done only one day after the French president appeared on TV and promised reforms aiming to ease the ‘yellow vests’ movement, many people believe that if police officers are shown again beating students, the yellow vests will be enflamed to join in as well.
They students are mainly demanding that a government reform, which introduces stricter selection criteria for university and thus breeds inequality between rich schools and poorer ones, be repealed.
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They also oppose Mr Macron’s plans for a national civic service for the French youths of one month, a measure which the government plans to roll out in 2026, but which any future president could thus easily repeal.
Just as with the ‘Yellow vest’ movement however, the French government seems convinced that the coming winter and end-of-year period will naturally make sure that the protest dies down.
Children of Yellow Vests
Student protesters however do not agree and hope that today enough schools join in. Mr Jules Spector, head of a student union, said: “we will continue protesting until our demands are met.”
“The government has made no gestures towards us,” he added. “On the contrary, it is obvious they are waiting for the end of term to slow down our movement.”
“Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer is wrong to claim there is no link between the students and the Yellow Vests. He does not understand that the students in the street are the children of the Yellow Vests.”
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