Friday, December 09, 2022

French students block schools to protest president’s choice

By Oleg Satinik – The Associated Press

PARIS ( Associated Press) – Hundreds of French university students occupied or blocked buildings at the Sorbonne and other schools in Paris on Thursday to express their anger over the French presidential election.

They oppose both candidates who made it to the presidency of April 24, centrist Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen, fearing that neither would be enough to protect the poor or the environment.

Students threw pamphlets from windows at the world-famous Sorbonne and raised slogans of “we are all anti-fascists” and at one point police fired tear gas as they demanded to stop other students from coming. A banner hung outside that read, “Sorbonne captured against Macron, Le Pen and their world.”

Left students at the prestigious political science institute Science-PO put up barricades at the main entrance with garbage cans and banners. An far-right student group posted a video showing youths violently throwing dustbins aside and demanding the removal of barricades.

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Paris police on Thursday reported several blockades and sporadic incidents at various universities.

Protesters include many young people who voted for hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who finished just one percentage point behind Le Pen in France’s first-round presidential election on Sunday but did not qualify for the runoff. . Macron is leading the election before the second round, but Le Pen is far behind and Mélancheon’s voters will be the decider.

Many French voters on the left see Le Pen as dangerous because of his promises to reduce immigration, toughen policing and reduce Muslim religious practices; And they see Macron as the “president of the rich” who has gone too far right, especially because of his pro-business policies.

At the Sorbonne, a student who gave her name only as Lola said: “We tried Emmanuel Macron and we didn’t like it, and Le Pen was in power – we don’t even want to try it, it’s a counterproductive Chances are.”

“Since young people are concerned with environmental issues, with social issues, with anti-racism, feminist and LGBTQ issues, it is very important to have a candidate to represent us,” said Gabriel Varghese, a student at Sciences-PO. said.

“Now we have a second round with only two right-wing candidates who are enemies of activists and youth, and we cannot accept that, we cannot accept five years of austerity and pollution.”

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