Saturday, March 11, 2006

In France, it's 1830, 1848, and 1968 all over again

Well, not quite, but there are once again barricades in Paris:

Riot police stormed the marble-halled Sorbonne University early Saturday, pushing out some 200 students occupying the historic institution, some for three days, to protest a government jobs plan.

At least 80 helmeted police officers rushed the landmark institution to dislodge students, some holed up in a classroom barricaded behind desks, chairs and debris.

What's going on?

The disturbances were part of snowballing protests over a new jobs measure that are posing a major test to the government. Up to 600 students were reportedly in the Sorbonne on Friday, joining a sit-in that began Wednesday. The university was forced to close.

Numerous students said that the movement was not over.

The mass occupation at the Sorbonne, in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the Left Bank student neighbourhood, was part of a larger movement by students, along with the country's powerful unions, trying to force the government to withdraw the jobs measure that will make it easier for companies to fire workers younger than 26.

Not that there may not be legitimate problems with the government's new employment policy, but this is just so French, isn't it?

I can't wait for Les Miz, Part Deux.

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