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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 22:38 GMT 23:38 UK
In pictures: French protests

People listening to President Chirac's speech in Lille

President Chirac made a televised address to the nation about his decision to back a controversial youth employment law (the CPE), after widespread protests.

Students demonstrating in the Chirac museum in Sarran, central France

Students have used innovative ways of airing their grievances against the new legislation.

Protesters in Bordeaux

Hundreds of thousands of students and workers have taken to the streets across France over the past three weeks.

A protest in Paris

Organisers claimed that 700,000 people marched in Paris alone - in what was largely a peaceful protest. Police estimates were far lower.

Clashes in Place de la Republique in central Paris

Several hundred people - mainly youths - clashed with riot police in Place de la Republique, on the sidelines of the march in the capital.

Water cannon in Paris

Water cannon were later used to quell a group of protesters in Paris.

Protesters in Bordeaux holding placards

These demonstrators in Bordeaux showed a clear message for French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin: "Trial period expired".

Protesters holding flares in Rennes, western France

Unions predicted the country's biggest day of action so far against the employment law.

Employee outside the closed Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower - one of the capital's main tourist attractions - was shut, as its workers joined the strike.





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