Opponents of the government's educational reform brought chaos onto the streets of Toulouse on Thursday.
Rubbish bins were set on fire and fences destroyed as the protests quickly turned violent. Riot police in full body armour fended off rocks and other projectiles, responding with volleys of tear gas.
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 unpopular among students.
Currently anyone who passes their baccalaureate test at the end of secondary education is guaranteed entrance to a publicly funded university. In the past days, nationwide protests have been held in Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon and Nantes.
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.