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French dean and university professor jailed for sending far-right thugs to expel students

(FILES) In this archive photo taken on May 20, 2021 Jean-Luc Coronel de Boissezon (L), former professor of legal history at the University of Montpellier (UM) speaks with a lawyer upon his arrival at the criminal court of Montpellier, southern France, before the opening of his trial with six other people for a

(FILES) In this archive photo taken on May 20, 2021 Jean-Luc Coronel de Boissezon (L), former professor of legal history at the University of Montpellier (UM) speaks with a lawyer upon his arrival at the criminal court in Montpellier, southern France, before the opening of his trial with six other people for a “commando” operation carried out in 2018. – Prosecuted for the violent evacuation of an amphitheater at the Faculty of Law of Montpellier in 2018, the former dean Philippe Petel was sentenced on July 2 to 18 months in prison, and the former professor Jean-Luc Coronel, member of the commando, to six months – SYLVAIN THOMAS / AFP via Getty Images

A former dean and professor at a university in southern France has been sentenced to jail for sending far-right thugs – wielding bats, sticks and stun guns – to smash a student sit-in.

The brutal expulsion, which took place in March 2018, sparked nationwide “anti-fascist” student protests and prompted the government to condemn.

Prosecutors at the Montpellier trial said that “two prominent jurists have chosen to make the conscious and dishonorable decision to go to the dark side of the force” by calling on “thugs to intervene in a law school”.

About fifty students had organized an amphitheater sit-in at the University of the South of France to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s reform aimed at making universities more selective. Suddenly a group of men in black, many of whom were wearing balaclavas and masks, stormed in and started beating the protesters.

Video footage showed students screaming as the men attacked them with wooden planks and dragged them out of the premises. Three students were hospitalized in the clashes, and a dozen injured.

A shocked student told France 3: “It was totally fascist, they were shouting racist insults [like] “Dirty Arabs”.

The attackers then slammed the doors behind them and retreated into the law school entrance hall, to applause and praise from faculty members and law students who opposed the protest.

Among them, Philippe Pétel, former dean of the faculty of law, and Jean-Luc Coronel de Boissezon, former professor of law. The next day, Mr. Pétel showed no remorse, asserting that the people who participated in the violent expulsion were only “law students”.

Philippe Petel - SYLVAIN THOMAS / AFP via Getty Images

Philippe Petel – SYLVAIN THOMAS / AFP via Getty Images

“The students wanted to defend themselves, I can’t blame them,” he told France 3. “The law students who were there were all against the occupation. [of the auditorium] … I am quite proud of my students. I totally agree.

However, the judges saw it differently.

On Friday, Mr. Pétel was sentenced to an 18-month suspended prison sentence while Mr. Coronel de Boissezon was sentenced to six months in prison with his wife, both found guilty of organizing the deportation. The couple will spend their detention confined to their home with an electronic bracelet.

Mr. Pétel was suspended after the incident and has been gone since. Mr. Coronel de Boissezon now works at Issep, the Lyon school of social, economic and political sciences headed by Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, niece of the current leader of the far-right National Rally, Marine Le Pen.

The heaviest sentence (one year in prison) was imposed on Martial Roudier, the son of the founder of the Ligue du Midi, a far-right group based in the south of France, for leading the raid.

Three other participants were sentenced to six months in prison, including a former senior army officer and a specialist in water jousting, a Mediterranean tradition from the neighboring town of Sète, according to which competitors try to overturn passing boats. . The three all belong to La Ligue du Sud, a far-right political party.

The seven defendants were found guilty of “deliberate gang violence” and “complicity”.

At the time, the attack exacerbated tensions between supporters and opponents of the 2018 law, which for the first time introduced an element of merit selection for university entry.

In France, students can apply for any university course provided they pass their Baccalaureate, the final examination for secondary education.

As lecture theaters overflow and more than a third of students drop out in their first year, Mr Macron’s centrist government has passed a law to tighten standards by allowing universities to set basic conditions for the ‘admission to three-year study programs.

Students who do not meet the criteria are now offered a place on the condition that they agree to take additional courses. Opponents argued that the restrictions were elitist and penalized students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

But their sit-ins have caused frustration on some campuses, with many students insisting on their “right to study” and to sit end-of-year exams.

Blocking university entrance was a “classic” student protest strategy in France, said Franck Loureiro of SGEN-CFDT, a federation of education unions. But “a large silent majority wants to go to class and pass their exams.”

Several left-wing students who had been affected in the attack chose not to attend the trial, calling it “partial” and “bourgeois”.

source: news.yahoo.com

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