A VAST spontaneous popular movement has taken over the streets of Paris and other French cities and is quickly gaining momentum. Thousands of protesters from all walks of life have come pouring out each evening for more than one week in ever increasing numbers to denounce the world’s wrongs and criticise the national government.
Roughly translated as ‘rise up at night’ the phenomenon is dubbed Nuit Debout and has now attracted the nervous attention of a fragile governance which is anxious not to see France’s very own Indignados or Occupy movement emerge at a time it is under pressure from all factions of the political spectrum.
The current protests began modestly on March 31 following evening discussions at various student and trade union haunts across the capital concerning what action to take over proposed labour law changes which have dismayed left-wingers.
More than a week later, the continuing catastrophe of the Panama Papers and the organic evolution of popular anger, has seen thousands Paris’s iconic Place de la Republique and the terms of the debate shifted to include a myriad of controversial issues.
The eviction of poor immigrant residents from France’s infamous housing estates, tax evasion from the likes of Google, pension disruptions, and all manner of complaints have been voiced by protesters passing around microphones in democratic spirit aimed at recapturing the historic French student protests of the 1960’s.
That ideal appears to be gaining traction as the protests maintain their peaceable nature and have now spread to Toulouse, Nantes, Marseille and even across the border to Brussels.