Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change, by Angelique Chrisafis. Revolutions in Europe always historically start in France, 1789, 1832, 1848, 1870, 1968, to name but a few, and now… today. A global revolution against the elite would have to start somewhere, and the French have the genes to do it.
For more than a week, vast nocturnal gatherings have spread across France in a citizen-led movement that has rattled the government.
“Nuit debout” loosely means “rise up at night”.
As night fell over Paris, thousands of people sat cross-legged in the vast square at Place de la République, taking turns to pass round a microphone and denounce everything from the dominance of Google to tax evasion or inequality on housing estates.
The debating continued into the early hours of the morning, with soup and sandwiches on hand in the canteen tent and a protest choir singing revolutionary songs. A handful of protesters in tents then bedded down to “occupy” the square for the night before being asked to move on by police just before dawn. But the next morning they returned to set up their protest camp again. …
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.
It’s a left-wing protest, targeting the current elite who are running society. Naturally they don’t protest against political correctness, but they protest different aspects of the same phenomenon.
Jocelyn, 26, a former medical student acting as a press spokesman for the movement, said: “Everything Hollande once promised for the left but gave up on really gets me down. Personally, it’s the state of emergency, the new surveillance laws, the changes to the justice system and the security crackdown.”
France currently has had a socialist President, François Hollande, since May 2012.