The protesters have put Mr de Villepin under pressure
Newspapers across France condemn the government for seeking to push through the new labour law making it easier to dismiss young workers.
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is singled out for criticism, with one editorial suggesting he is taking a hard line because he wants to appear strong for next year's presidential election.
However, one business paper believes the law is not tough enough to cure France's economic and social ills, and the centre-right Le Figaro argues that elections, rather than street protests, are the way to deal with such issues.
Editorial in Le Monde
You do not have to be left-wing or one of the critics of the First Employment Contract (CPE) to come to the conclusion that Dominique de Villepin's technique - pushing it through by force - is the worst one possible. Villepin wants to show that he is not a man to waver. In short, it is not employment that is dictating events. It is the competition with [Interior Minister] Nicolas Sarkozy to be seen as leader of the Right, one year before the presidential election."
Maurice Ulrich in the Communist Party daily L'Humanite
Dominique de Villepin wanted to get the CPE passed very quickly, without people noticing too much. But the majority of the French fully realised this and have shown that they do on a daily basis. The trade unions and student organisations have formally appealed to the head of state and are waiting for a simple response, just one word: withdrawal.
Nadjib Touaibia in La Marseillaise
The French are seeing their government virtually declare war on young people. It is quite obvious that it has failed to learn the lessons from the tremor which rocked the suburbs. Now that the universities and high schools are seething with protest, the Villepin government is still adopting the same response. First they opt for repression, and then they hastily cobble together a counter-attack.
Serge Faubert in France-Soir
Make no mistake: what started as an imitation of May '68 looks like being a thousand times more revolutionary. In fact, the current crisis is an exact reversal. In '68, everything was possible in a France where there was full employment, but nothing was permitted. Today, everything is permitted for those with money, a good job, but nothing is possible for the vast majority of our fellow citizens."
Herve Favre in La Voix du Nord
The words 'suspension' and 'withdrawal' do not figure in [Villepin's] vocabulary. He still needs to find the right words to convince those opposed to the CPE that he has nevertheless taken on board their fears and wishes to respond to them.
Francois-Xavier Pietri in the financial daily La Tribune
The sickness is deep-rooted and it will require more than a poultice on a wooden leg - that is, a reworked CPE - to cure it.
Editorial in Le Figaro
The battle over the CPE is also about the proper functioning of our institutions. A law has been adopted by a legitimate majority. This law is being contested by the opposition and the trade unions. In a democracy this kind of conflict is sorted out not in the street but by the ballot box. When the Socialists voted for the 35-hour week, the Right did not organise blockades: it took note and the Left was defeated.
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