‘Up All Night’ Protests Sweep France as 100,000 Join Pro-Democracy Movement

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by Lauren McCauley at commondreams.org

For twelve nights, protesters have occupied central Paris, and beyond, as part of the burgeoning Nuit Debout (or ‘Up All Night’) movement. Over the weekend protests were held in 60 cities across France, Germany, and Spain. (Photo: Nuit Debout/ Facebook)

 

‘This movement was not born and will not die in Paris…It has no limit, no border and it belongs to all of those who wish to be part of it.’

A police crackdown will not deter France’s burgeoning Nuit Debout (or ‘Up All Night’) movement that has swept across the country in recent weeks as the unifying call for change sparked protests in over 50 cities this weekend.

Riot police early Monday cleared the encampment in the Place de la Republique in central Paris after 11 nights of protest, but demonstrators have vowed to maintain their nightly vigil.

Demonstrations this weekend were held in as many as 60 cities and towns across France as well as in Belgium, Germany, and Spain, according to reports, as an estimated 120,000 protested against austerity, globalization, increasing inequality, privatization, and the continent’s severe anti-migrant policies.

 


What began as a rebuke of the state’s anti-labor policies has grown into a nation-wide pro-democracy movement that has been likened to the Indignados movement in Spain, or theOccupy protests in the United States.

Reporting on the movement’s origins, the Guardian‘s Angelique Chrisafis writes from Paris:

It began on 31 March with a night-time sit-in in Paris after the latest street demonstrations by students and unions critical of President François Hollande’s proposed changes to labour laws. But the movement and its radical nocturnal action had been dreamed up months earlier at a Paris meeting of leftwing activists.

“There were about 300 or 400 of us at a public meeting in February and we were wondering how can we really scare the government? We had an idea: at the next big street protest, we simply wouldn’t go home,” said Michel, 60, a former delivery driver. Protesters debate issues such as national security, housing and proposed changes to French labour law.

“On 31 March, at the time of the labour law protests, that’s what happened. There was torrential rain, but still everyone came back here to the square. Then at 9pm, the rain stopped and we stayed. We came back the next day and as we keep coming back every night, it has scared the government because it’s impossible to define.

“There’s something here that I’ve never seen before in France – all these people converge here each night of their own accord to talk and debate ideas – from housing to the universal wages, refugees, any topic they like. No one has told them to, no unions are pushing them on – they’re coming of their own accord.”

In a bid to appease the predominantly youth protesters, the French government on Monday announced €400-500 million in new student aid in the form of “subsidies for young graduates looking for a job and other aid for apprentices and students,” Reuters reports.

But that may not be enough as another protest has been announced for Monday evening.

For months, ideological tensions have been on the brink of combustion across France and greater Europe, particularly in response to the European Union’s unpopular austerityeconomics and, more recently, the anti-migrant policies that have taken hold amid the larger crackdown on rights following the bombings in Brussels and Paris.

Meanwhile, observers are connecting France’s leftist upsurge with similar pro-democracy movements taking hold across Europe and the United States.

 

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. si le peulpe américain se réveille. soutenant Bernoie Sanders et les droits des citoyens, ça va faire très mal au élites mondiales.

    sorry for my language mistake

    ” if all of the american people grow there mind up to push Bernie Sanders on the white house, I think that all the fu…cking elite of banque and “killing earth” etablisment will go to jaill ..”

  2. Wow… such a bad article, and I know what I’m talking about, I’m french. Those peope (who are not anymore as numerous as on the pictures, and the picture from Joel Benjamin took place in january 2015) are the dumb golden youth of Paris : living in appartments worthing millions, feeded of money by their parents, they are what we call “Bobos” for Bourgeois de Bohême (Bohemian Bourgeoisie), people who criticize the moral values of bourgeoisie but are just as rich as they. it’s full of high-school students who don’t even know what they were protesting about in the first place, one of our most brilliants philosophes has almost been lynched by these people beacause he disagreed and wanted to talk with them, and finally IT’S NOT THE FIRST TIME SUCH INITIATIVE TAKES PLACE IN FRANCE, morons ! gather the minimum of intel before writting ! And search about Les Veilleurs (The Watchers) now.

  3. this article is so full of shit it’s impressive. and I’m French, I know what I’m talking about. Did you read at last ONE french article about that befor writing your own ?

  4. BZH u say so much bullshit, Finkielkraut is not a brilliant philosophe, his books sucks, are u came in Nuit debout ? U say that u saw only bobos, maybe u must have glasses because I saw people who have anything in nuit debout, u just a stupid people who think it will be a good idea to say something because u are french but it’s not cool, nuit debout c’est bien, il ne faut pas cracher sur les efforts que les Français mettent en œuvre pour arrêter d’être pris pour des cons.

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