Reform On Hold?


Riot police push students from the tracks at Paris' Gare de Lyon station

For the nearly 11 years he's occupied the Elysée Palace, French President Jacques Chirac has promoted social and economic reform, yet shied away from the conflicts that invariably result. Last week he attempted another awkward balancing act after France saw more huge protests, some of them violent, against a new law allowing workers younger than 26 to be fired without cause within their first two years on the job. Thousands of students staging public sit-ins around the country booed as Chirac, speaking on TV, rejected their demands to repeal the law, then continued jeering as he ordered ruling conservatives in parliament...

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