France CPE Riot Watch: Second Straight Day of CPE Protests

France‘s Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (R) and Budget Minister Jean-Francois Cope leave the Elysee Palace in Paris after the weekly cabinet meeting April 5, 2006. French unions will meet figures from President Jacques Chirac ‘s ruling right for talks in the afternoon on a contested youth jobs law, bolstered by street protests demanding the new hire-and-fire rules be scrapped.

ASSociated Press: Police, Jobs Law Protesters Clash in Paris

Demonstrators blocked roads, rail lines and mail delivery trucks Wednesday in a second straight day of protests to demand the repeal of a divisive jobs law, while unions vowed they would not compromise in talks withPresident Jacques Chirac’s ruling party on the issue.

So, will the Chirac/Villepin government cave into the students and unions?

Or do they want more photos like this……..

French riot police officers detain students in Lille, northern France, Tuesday April 4, 2006 after a demonstration against the French government’s new labor law. Police said at least 1 million people poured into the streets across France on Tuesday and youths clashed with riot officers in the latest protests against the government’s new jobs law.

This unrest is ruining France’s tourism and business climate… is their high youth unemployment.

Buoyed by the success of marches that drew more than 1 million protesters Tuesday, unions were in a position of strength heading into talks that Chirac’s government hoped might offer a way out of the crisis.

“Students must be able to prepare for exams, and high schoolers must go back to school,” Chirac said in a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, according to a spokesman. Some universities have been shut down for weeks, and many high schools have been affected, as well.

Labor leader Bernard Thibault said the repeal of the law, which would make it easier to fire young workers, was “not negotiable.” Unions also met among themselves to discuss further protest action, determined to maintain the intense pressure that has fractured the embattled conservative government.

Villepin and Chirac have bungled youth employment reform and the socialists who wish to control the government (after upcoming elections) are happy to rub their noses in the mire.

Flap handicaps a withdrawl of the CPE and Villepin from public life.

The winner:

France’s Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy (C) walks with police, after police clashed with youths following a nationwide protest demanding the government scrap the First Job Contract (CPE), in Paris April 4, 2006. French transport workers and teachers staged new strikes on Tuesday and students across the country gathered for street protests they hope will kill off the disputed CPE, a youth hire-and-fire law.

The Chirac government will meet this afternoon with the dissident unions.

Stay tuned…..


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