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 the Occupy protests in the United States.
Reporting on the movement’s origins, the Guardian‘s Angelique Chrisafis writes from Paris:
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 austerity economics 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.
Indeed, a statement issued by the Nuit Debout public assemblies reads in part:
“This movement is yours too,” the call for solidarity concludes. “It has no limit, no border and it belongs to all of those who wish to be part of it. We are thousands, but we can be millions.”