Blockades have been formed around universities across France as students protest against the government's education reform, which envisions, in particular, tightening the criteria for university admission.
Earlier in the day, people gathered in front of the examination center in Arcueil, Val-de-Marne, trying to prevent Nanterre students from taking their final exams, the Franceinfo media outlet reported.
The first exam for second-year students was supposed to start at 9:00 a.m. local time (07:00 GMT). Police had to use pepper spray on the protesting students, who chanted "No to the exams in police presence!" as armored vehicles tried pushing them from the premises.
The director of the university said all the exams scheduled for Friday and Saturday would be canceled because of the situation. Eric Coquerel, a member of the France Insoumise party who arrived at the scene, tweeted that it was "unacceptable" to pepper spray the students who were protesting peacefully.
The reform of university access, adopted on March 8, modified the conditions under which students get accepted into higher education schools. These changes will go into effect in September 2018.
Multiple protests have been rocking France since mid-2017, with students, employees and labor unions from the education, agriculture, prison security, retirement home, railway, aviation and non-profit sectors protesting against unpopular measures introduced or being considered by the government.