At least a million people have taken part in demonstrations across France against the CPE first job contract. Unions claim the figure was three times that, figures equalling the mass protests a week ago. They are demanding that the law be repealed, and have rejected what they described as the “manoeuvres” by the government. A quarter of a million people joined the march in Marseille, while tens of thousands were seen on the streets in smaller regional cities like Rennes.Opponents of the CPE say it leaves them exposed, with no job security. The main demonstration in Paris descended into violence. Gangs of youths uprooted road signs and threw stones at police. There were violent scuffles between groups of protesters. The row over the CPE has crystalised broader discontent felt by many unemployed people from the poorer suburbs. Organisers say those battling with police have little to do with their cause. France suffered several weeks of urban violence last November when tensions fuelled by racism and discrimination boiled over.