AFRICANGLOBE – Pupils carried bins and barriers to block the entrance to more than a dozen schools – including the Dorian, Arago, Voltaire, Charlemagne, Sophie Germain, Chaptal and Naples high schools, which are all located in central Paris.
One school – the Lycée Jules Ferry – closed its doors for the day as a “security precaution” after hearing that some of the protests had descended into violence before 9am local time.
Violent clashes between police and students have also been reported outside several Paris schools.
Balaclava-clad protesters set bins on fire and threw objects at riot police, who responded by throwing tear gas grenades to disperse the crowds.
The unauthorised anti-police protests – which are expected to last until nightfall – were organised by the Mouvement Inter Luttes Indépendant, an organisation run by anti-establishment and anti-fascist activists and students.
Word of the spontaneous demonstrations and school blockades was spread across social media thanks to the hashtag “#BlocusPourThéo” (#BlocadeForThéo) on Wednesday night, in response for the young Black youth who was raped by a policeman with a baton earlier this month.
Zacharie, a member of Mouvement Inter Luttes Indépendant, told the French daily BFMTV: “Blocking the entrance to schools is one of the only ways to get the police to react and listen to what we have to say.”
According to Zacharie, pupils from more than 30 French schools nationwide have pledged to join the protests in order to denounce police brutality and racism.
Paris police prefecture officials, however, have warned protesters to “stay away”.
Also using the hashtag #BlocusPourThéo, they tweeted: “Hooligans will try to join the protests in order to provoke fights and cause significant damage.”
Several metro stations have also been closed in a desperate bid to stop Paris from “spiralling into chaos.”
By: Romina McGuinness