Government defends heavy-handed police tactics against students
Paris: France’s government on Friday defended the tactics of riot police who forced several dozen detained high-school students to kneel in rows with their hands held behind their heads or in handcuffs after violent protests west of Paris.
Students this week have been blocking access to scores of high schools across France in protest at President Emmanuel Macron’s education reforms, just as the 40-year-old leader grapples with sometimes-violent demonstrations over living costs. Videos and photos of the students from two high schools in Val Fourre, a deprived neighbourhood outside Mantes-La-Jolie, 60 kilometres west of Paris, went viral on social media late on Thursday, prompting public outrage. “Over the past few days, the students have been joined by about 100 hooded youths armed with clubs and incendiary devices and determined to pick a fight with police,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told a news conference.