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Student-teacher strikes across France are met with even more heavy-handed policing

Already beleaguered by pension reform protests and the Yellow Vest movement, France is now grappling with yet more protests, this time by students and teachers fighting new reforms to the country’s baccalaureate high school exams.

In a rare display of solidarity between erstwhile enemies since time immemorial, students and teachers alike blocked-off schools and engaged in brief clashes with police as they resisted the introduction of continuous assessment (E3C (Common Continuous Control Tests)).

The Minister of Education Jean Michel Blanquer announced last week that he wanted to simplify the ‘Bac’ and, ever since then, blockades have taken place in front of exam centers across the country. Many offerings of the test have been forcibly cancelled due to a lack of sitting candidates.

Eyewitness photos and video shared online shows similar scenes across France as improvised blockades made of chairs, desks, bins and other materials appeared in front of schools and test centers.

In what is now a common sight in Macron’s France, heavy-handed police have been involved in clashes with the protesting students between the ages of 15 and 17, and multiple arrests have been made in what many have decried as intimidatory tactics by authorities. 

“To intimidate high school students and ensure that these tests take place at all costs, there has been a recent explosion in the number of young people placed in police custody,” a family Lawyer told French media.

The E3C, Common Continuous Control Tests, are spread across three sessions throughout the academic year; however, they take place at different times depending on the region and under different conditions. The protesters argue that this fails to guarantee equality of opportunity for students.

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Olivia Kroth
February 11, 2020

Heavy-handed policing, yes, certainly. The French police has a very bad reputation. Especially the Gendarmerie.They are gangsters in uniform.

Olivia Kroth
February 13, 2020

French pupils and students are being dumbed down on purpose so they will not have enough knowledge about history or otherwise to form their own opinions. French critical thinking is suppressed and dying out.

Soon all French youngsters will be zoombie night riders like those 6 gendarmerie “musketeers” who raided my home Sunday at midnight. The French version of the KKK. The French Gendarmerie is the Ku Klux Klan de la France, full of dumb, criminal youngsters.

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
February 13, 2020

The French “Police Municipale” used to be just as bad. In the small Southern French village, where I live, they used to idle around in a police car all day long. They even followed me to the local supermarket, bought a candy bar, then placed themselves ostentatiously behind me at the cashier. In the last year, I have not seen them any more, though. No more “Police Municipale” idling around in cars, doing nothing. Maybe they are overworked and underpaid? No more time to idle around? Or the local shop owners have forbidden the Police Municipale to enter their stores… Read more »

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