Student-teacher strikes across France are met with even more heavy-handed policing (VIDEOS)
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.
Die-in au lycée Maine de Biran de #Bergerac contre la mort du mythe de l’égalité des chancesPlus de 620 établissements sont mobilisés aujourd’hui contre #Blanquer et ses #E3CLa #grève reprend son souffle ✊#greve10fevrier#FiersDeLaGreve#GreveGeneralepic.twitter.com/vj6wSnxul2— Marcel Aiphan (@AiphanMarcel) February 10, 2020
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.
Nouveau blocus des lycéens ce mardi mardi matin devant le lycée Guist’hau. Hier, les épreuves ont été annulées, tout comme le 30 janvier #nantes#E3C#blocus (pour @presseocean) pic.twitter.com/ALjv8YUdO0— DIRECTPO (@DIRECTPO) February 11, 2020
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.
Scandalisé de voir le traitement réservé aux élèves de mon ancien lycée Hélène Boucher contraint de passer leurs épreuves #E3C avec des policiers au sein de leur établissement. Cette dérive autoritaire doit cesser ! Ce n'est pas l'éducation nationale ! Ce n'est pas la France ! pic.twitter.com/jBwDDE1hwP— Igor Zamichiei (@izam_pcf) February 6, 2020
Festival de #ViolencesPolicieres au lycée VHB de #Rennes où la police a tabassé pour obliger les élèves à passer un bac #Blanquer décidément placé sous le signe de la matraqueLe bruit des bottes résonne à l’école...#StopE3C#E3C#ResistSR#greve5fevrierpic.twitter.com/CuASWvSfTq— Marcel Aiphan (@AiphanMarcel) February 5, 2020
"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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