Faced with a flurry of student strikes and demonstrations over the bill in recent weeks, [Jacques Chirac] has promised to amend it to clear up what he calls "misunderstandings." [Rene Monory] repeated this to the student leaders, promising to make important modifications in the bill. But the students insisted that they wanted the bill withdrawn.
Monory, accompanied by Minister of Higher Education Alain Devaquet, who had prepared the bill originally, told a news conference that he had told the students that "we are prepared to start a dialogue on certain points in the bill." But the students, Monory said, had refused anything short of withdrawal.
The present demonstration, according to some commentators, is the first true outburst of political protest since 1968. The outburst surprised both the Chirac government and many analysts. In a front page editorial, Frederic Gaussen of Le Monde wrote that the demonstration "evidently marked the return of youth into politics." But he said it was not clear just how. "The movement," he said, "is a new social object that is still not identified."