The French Prime Minister has tried once again to calm the waters, but the protesters are vowing not to give up the fight.
Demonstrations against a controversial youth jobs law have continued, with several hundred students blocking train lines in Paris. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin’s popularity has fallen during weeks of protests, sparking speculation he may resign. Observers say he was also weakened when President Jacques Chirac promised to water down the law and when politicians from Chirac’s party took over the handling of talks with unions and students. Villepin remains defiant though. He said: “It’s time to come out of the crisis and re-establish calm and unity.” When a reporter asked who was governing – him, rival minister Nicolas Sarkozy or the members of Chirac’s party – Villepin said: “The President has trusted me with a mission: to lead the battle for jobs, to respond to the concerns of our compatriots. This battle, I will lead until the end.” The new jobs law came into force on Sunday, but the government has urged employers not to use it until modifications have been made.