Apr 4, 2006

French Protests Turn Violent

Left: Paris protest photo courtesy of Reuters.

(Paris) Hundreds of thousands of students and union activists marched through French cities today in new protests aimed at rescinding a controversial employment law.

Rail workers, bus drivers,and teachers also staged one-day sympathy strikes in support of the students.

At this writing there is escalating violence in the streets of Paris. FOX News is carrying live video of the Paris protest, and dozens of people have been carried off after sustaining injuries.

Protesters are throwing rocks, bottles, and chunks of concrete at the outnumbered police. Photographers have also been targeted by some of the protesters.

Correspondents on the scene estimate the Paris crowd alone to be over 100,000.

The law in question is known as the First Job Contract (CPE), and it gives firms the right to summarily lay off employees under the age of 26 at any time in a two-year period.

CPE is also seen as a test of political will between the moderate Chirac/ Villepin government and a more conservative faction led by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

One-third of intercity trains have been cancelled, and French airports are reporting delays of up to 90 minutes on most flights.

Ryanair has cancelled all service to and from France, while the British budget airline Jet2 used its website to attack the strikers as "lazy frogs" who need to "get back to work".

Unemployment in France, estimated at 9.2%, is among the highest in the European Union. Some experts put the unemployment rate at 40% for young French workers.


liberal_dem said...

Ah, yes! It seems that the French, unlike we timid Americans, come out together in masses to protest rulings by their head of state.

...keep drinking the Kool-aid

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Stephanie said...

This is not a surprise.

liberal_dem said...

This is not a surprise.


do you refer to my comment? If so, why do you think that we Americans are paralyzed into inaction?

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a saying in France, that the worker is not obligated to work, but the employer is obligated to pay him?

liberal_dem said...

... that the worker is not obligated to work, but the employer is obligated to pay him?

Naw, you must be thinking of the U.S. Congrtess.

Stephanie said...

Actually, I was refering to the behavior of the protesters. Paranoid are we?

Hooda Thunkit said...

Relax people, it's just a bunch of kids blowing off a little steam ;-)

Why can't an employer just let an employee go? Is there some kind of law or something?

Of course, maybe the French should never hire anyone under 26 to begin with ;-)