French parliament debates labor law after violent protests

After a month of often violent protests, French legislators are starting to debate a hotly contested labor bill that would make it easier to lay off workers and weaken some union powers.

The reform, aimed at making France more globally competitive, faces an uphill battle. President Francois Hollande's Socialist government has watered it down to soothe his leftist base — and it still reportedly lacks enough support to win adoption in the National Assembly, which begins debating it Tuesday.

Amid overall frustration at France's economic stagnation, the bill has galvanized opposition from unions and a violent fringe of youth who have clashed repeatedly with police at protests. More demonstrations are planned Tuesday.

Labor Minister Myriam El-Khomri told Le Parisien newspaper the government would not "cede to the street."