As the “Nuit Debout” movement is starting its sixth straight night of protests in Paris and extending to other French cities Tuesday, local and international media raise the question of whether it could turn into an 'Indignados' movement, like the one in Spain.
Despite a violent eviction by the police on Tuesday morning, protesters gathered again Tuesday night, reported local media. Meanwhile, a massive student protest against the labor reform in Paris resulted in 130 arrests, after violent clashes with the police.
"General Dream" - a pun on "General Strike" in French. Photo: Comptoir
The movement was born on March 31, when a collective started peacefully camping on the emblematic Republic Square, in the center-north of Paris, initially in order to protest against a major neoliberal labor reform.
“Then the movement started growing unexpectedly, gathering up to a thousand people, voting collectively its own rules during daily meetings, launching debates and adopting a strictly non-violent rule,” explained political analyst Gael Brustier.
The protestors organized daily life on the encampment, and debates started to go way beyond the labor reform, like discussing LGBTQ rights or criticizing the post-colonialist foreign policy of France in African countries.
Anti-riot police officers arrest a man during clashes in eastern Paris. Photo: AFP
The movement is also heavily present on social media, attracting over 80,000 viewers during a Periscope live transmission on Sunday, while the hashtag #NuitDebout is trending on Twitter. An interactive map shows how similar mobilizations are mushrooming across France, with information about the actions to come in each city.
The movement is still reluctant to form hierarchies or even spokespersons, like the Podemos movement before it became a political party when it was still referred to as the 15M movement, referring to when groups of people spontaneously started gathering in Madrid on May 15, 2011.
However, economist Frederic Lordon made an impassioned speech on Sunday, calling on the working class and the marginalized generations of immigrants living in the suburbs to join the movement, in a bid to foster a true revolutionary movement including a greater variety of actors.