There have been clashes between youths and security forces as a day of action against a new jobs law drew to a close in France. More than 380 people were arrested in Paris in post-march incidents. Arrests were also made in the north-western city of Rennes after youths there stoned police. It is not the first time hooligans have tried to hijack demonstrations against the youth employment contract.
Yesterday’s day of action also included strikes, although there was less disruption than during last week’s protest, with public transport largely unaffected. Nevertheless, a top employer’s leader warned the two-month-long crisis is beginning to hurt the French economy and urged all sides to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is set to play a key role. Senior figures from his governing conservative party are expected to meet unions today for talks on the contested measure.
Aimed at cutting youth unemployment, the law will in fact increase job insecurity by making it easier to hire and fire under 26-year-olds, say its critics. President Jacques Chirac has pledged to soften key parts of the legislation but its opponents want nothing less than its withdrawal.