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France

Paris high schools blockaded by student protestors

media Photo taken at a secondary school student protest at Place de la Nation in Paris, February 23 2017. RFI/Richard Riffonneau

Four high schools in the French capital were shut down on Tuesday morning by students protesting police violence, according to the Local Education Authority. Four others were partially blockaded.

Rubbish bins and metal gates blocked entry on Tuesday morning to high schools Balzac and Voltaire, in Paris's 17th and 11th districts respectively.

The headmaster of Jules-Ferry High School in the ninth district was injured by a projectile that school officials believe was thrown by a student.

Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has said in a press release that she “strongly condemns the violence that injured the headmaster”.

Hundreds of students have walked out to gather near Nation in eastern Paris amid a significant police presence.

Student protests against police violence

Over the last two weeks, high school students throughout the Paris region have organised protests and walk-outs in support of Théo, a young black man who was allegedly raped by a police baton in a Paris suburb earlier this month.

Vallaud-Belkacem said in her press release that “the strong emotions some may feel in response to Théo does not justify violence in any way”.

“The government will be particularly firm” in responding to the “violent behaviour and blockades that have occurred in certain schools”, she added.

On Monday, Paris police took in at least 30 students for questioning after clashes at  schools throughout the city. Sixteen were detained.

The violent arrest of Théo in early February in the Parisian suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, which was caught on camera, has sparked unrest throughout France.

Théo was allegedly beaten and then raped by a police baton. He was subsequently hospitalised for injuries to his rectum that required surgery.

One officer has been charged with raping Théo, while three others who were present at the time of arrest have been charged with assault.
 

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