France's global warning
Once again, French students are leading the march - this time against an unpopular employment law - but these protests are also about the country's future on an increasingly globalised planet, writes Alex Duval Smith in Paris
Sunday March 19, 2006
It was the same bright spring sunshine and the same familiar elegant landmarks, but the hundreds of thousands of young demonstrators on the streets yesterday were a whole new generation. Almost 40 years since the great student protests of 1968, France's students are again manning barricades, café tables are being thrown at police riot shields, and tear gas hangs over the Left Bank.
France was again showing its revolutionary fibre and, in the republican tradition, it looked last night as though victory was close to being with the people.
Flames erupt from a car and a motorbike in front of a hotel during clashes between youths and police that followed a student protest against the First Employment Contract (CPE), in Paris, March 16, 2006. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
It was only months ago that the sans papier, the immigrant youth outside of Paris began their protests with the burning of cars.
The torching of the French banlieues as both sequel to the No vote of May 2005 and symptom of a wider Western malaise. Rejection of official pieties of integration, and flames of revolt against an automated Europe. Jean Baudrillard: The Pyres of Autumn
Today half a million families along with students and trade unionists demonstrated across France peacefully against the new French Labour Law.
The best coverage was on BBC World News TV which distinguished between the demonstrations during the day, peaceful, with the later night time police instigated rioting. It was like night and day.Riots erupt after French protests
The 24/7 cable news stations in the U.S. covered it as if only the rioting had occured. Why am I not surprized. Student-Worker Protests in Paris Turn Violent
May 68 Redux
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