Strike till CPE is withdrawn

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More than 2,000 students meeting outside the entrance of Jussieu university in the centre of Paris yesterday afternoon voted virtually unanimously to strike until the government withdraws the CPE – First Job Contract – that President Chirac approved last Friday night.

The students also voted by a large majority to continue their blockade of Jussieu, in the teeth of government threats to evict students occupying high schools and colleges.

The vote took place on the eve of today’s general strike by French trade unions and student organisations – the second general strike in seven days.

Millions are expected to take to the streets again in Paris and in towns and cities all over France.

At Charles V university, where a general meeting of hundreds of students and teachers also voted to continue the struggle, a group of students told News Line that Chirac must start listening to the will of the French people who are overwhelmingly opposed to the removal of basic employment rights for the under 26-year-olds or the government could fall.

Sandra, 21, said: ‘We want to tell Chirac that we’re the future.’

Francois, 20, said ‘Chirac can’t go against public opinion for much longer or his party will lose the 2007 election. He hopes the struggle of the street will die down but he can’t keep pushing people any further.’

Meanwhile, there was a photo-call outside the Sorbonne University, which has been sealed off by police who have erected large steel barriers blocking off the street, with water cannon stationed behind them.

Last month riot police attacked an occupation of the Sorbonne against the CPE. The university is a symbol of the May-June 1968 uprising in France.