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Police, Students Clash in French Capital


French police clashed with students demonstrating against President Nicolas Sarkozy's policies Wednesday in Paris.

Police said they charged groups of students after they smashed shop windows and committed other acts of vandalism.

The students began their actions Tuesday, protesting against proposed education reforms, which they say promote inequality. The action came on the eve of a planned nationwide strike.

French students and workers have staged a number of demonstrations against President Sarkozy's economic policies amid the global economic crisis in recent months.

Polls show a majority of French people support the protests.

Protests by high school students late last year forced Mr. Sarkozy to shelve a plan to reform the country's secondary schools. He offered a series of concessions after a union action on January 29 brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets of cities across France.

Many French workers fear they could lose their jobs due to the economic crisis they blame on the government, bankers and free market failures.

Union leaders also accuse businesses of using the economic downturn as an excuse to lay off workers.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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