Violence flares as 300,000 march in French student protests

PARIS (AP) — About 300,000 high school students took to the streets of France on Tuesday, protesting school conditions in a second round of nationwide marches marred again by violence.
Despite intensive efforts by student leaders to attract support, the protesters failed to build on the momentum of last week’s protests that drew a half-million marchers.
In Paris, helmeted riot police sprayed tear gas to disperse unruly gangs who shattered windows in a posh Left Bank neighborhood and set fire to a subway car, temporarily interrupting service on one line.
Police said 85 people suffered minor injuries in Paris. About 110 young people were arrested nationwide, and 90 of them were taken into custody.
Police said about 25,000 students marched in Paris — far below the hoped-for numbers.
The students’ frustration, however, has clearly not dissipated despite government promises to hire more teachers, buy new equipment and reduce the heavy courseload.
Many students wore yellow-and-black stickers calling on Education Minister Claude Allegre to resign. Others waved banners with colorful slogans reflecting their anger.
Six weeks after the school year began, some students are still without teachers. Many schools, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods, badly need modernizing.
Allegre is scheduled to meet today with students for the second time, and new reform measures are expected to be announced.