Students in the north-western city of Nantes set fire to a car and burnt rubbish in the street on Thursday, as part of a wave of protests against the government's proposed reforms to the school system that have seen at least 200 high schools blockaded across France.

Police deployed tear gas against the protesters, who responded with by throwing stones and other projectiles.

The government is seeking to change many aspects of the French education system, but proposals to introduce selective criteria for university admissions have proven to be particularly unwelcome amongst students. Currently anyone who passes their baccalaureate test at the end of secondary education is guaranteed entrance to a publicly funded university.

Similar actions have been in the cities of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon and some suburbs of Paris in the past days.

On Thursday, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer urged people to stay at home over the weekend, with the government fearing an escalation of violence in the coming days.

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