MONTPELLIER, France – High school students in the southern French city of Montpellier protested on Thursday for the second day in a row against government reform plans affecting the country’s secondary education qualification system, the Baccalaureat.
The students faced off against police in riot gear, mounting barricades and setting plastic trash containers on fire.
At the start of protests on Wednesday, French radio network France Info reported that security forces members had been forced to intervene when 250 students blocked the entrance to a school and tried to interrupt a tram line, which led to the arrest of five of them.
The student demonstrations come at a time when the whole country is being swept over by widespread social protests making numerous demands from the government of President Emmanuel Macron for a reform of the welfare state.
The protesters, known as the “Gilet Jaunes” (“yellow vests”), were initially fighting against a surge in fuel prices derived from a government-imposed increase in carbon taxes on diesel.