PARIS,Dec 19th(Xinhua) -- Thousands of French secondary school students Thursday took to the streets to protest the government's school reform plan, which would cut 13,500 education jobs and shorten classroom hours.
Police said some 127,000 students joined the protest, which swept Paris, Lyon and some other provincial capital cities, while the National Union of Secondary Schools (UNL) put the number at 150,000.
Amid fears that a violent protest similar to that in 2006 may break out, Education Minister Xavier Darcos said Thursday that he was ready to re-examine the reform plans, which would also divide the school year into two semesters.
"We are going to start all over again, we are going to re-examine the entire proposal together," Darcos told the parliament's upper house.
In most cities, the protests were calm, but some turned violent.
In Lyon of eastern-central France, students clashed with police, injuring five police officers and damaging several vehicles, while 38 students were arrested.
In Dijon, a city in eastern France, a high-speed train line in the main station was briefly blocked by about 200 students.
In Paris, police used tear gas to expel students after clashes near the Luxembourg garden, where organizers said some 136,000 participated.
The protestors demanded the government definitely scrap the reform plan as part of a broad public spending cuts program, and called for the resignation of Darcos.
French educators have grumbled over the government's huge fund injection into the financial sectors amid the spreading financial storm while cutting education spending.
Alix Nicolet, president of the FIDL students' union, said, "You keep hearing that there's no money for young people and on the other hand you give out billions to the banks and of course that creates discontent."