PARIS: Some 50 schools in Paris and the rest of France were being disrupted yesterday as students continued protests sparked by the deportation of foreign pupils.
The protests began on Thursday after the high-profile deportation of a 15-year-old Roma girl, Leonarda Dibrani, and the expulsion of another 19-year-old student to Armenia on Saturday.
Amid rising anger, sources in President Francois Hollande’s government said it would make a statement about Dibrani at the weekend, after an investigation into how her expulsion was handled.
The Socialist government has raised the possibility of changing policy so that currently enrolled students cannot be expelled from France.
Much of the anger has focused on how Dibrani was forced to get off a bus full of classmates in the midst of a school outing before she was deported with the rest of her family to Kosovo.
At least 23 schools in the Paris region were taking part in the protest, with many classes empty and the entrances to some schools blocked. Steven Nassiri, the head of the Fidl students’ union, said protests were taking place at about 50 schools across the country.
Protesters were demanding that Dibrani and the other expelled student, Khatchik Kachatryan, be allowed to return to France to continue their studies.
At the Lycee Charlemagne secondary school in Paris’s Marais district, rubbish bins were piled up in front of the entrance and a banner had been unfurled reading: “Charlemagne is mobilising for Leonarda and Khatchik”.
“These are students just like us. They must absolutely be allowed to return to France,” said one of the protesters. AFP