The “Nuit Debout” (Up All Night) movement in France spread from the Place de la République (Republic Square) to prime minister Manuel Valls’ house over the weekend.
Eight people were arrested and demonstrators faced teargass as they converged on Valls. The protestors hung up a dummy of Valls with the slogan “La Valls Est Finie” (Valls is finished).
Valls hopes to quiet the protestors with free aid to job seekers and more rent subsidies.
Thousands Protest Nightly at Place de la République
Valls is Finished
March on Valls House Unsuccessful
Above images from France24 article In pictures: ‘Up All Night’ Protesters March on PM’s Home
Some 2,000 people gathered in Place de la République on Saturday to share their aspirations for change. Galvanised by weeks of protests over the Socialist government’s labour reforms seen as threatening workers’ rights, the Up All Night (Nuit Debout) movement is an amalgamation of left-leaning causes.
Participants may be fighting for the environment, against Islamophobia and homophobia, for better housing, against unhealthy food – or all of the above.
The protests have mainly been nonviolent, but several hundred people marching from Place de la République towards the central Paris home of Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Saturday were turned away by riot police using tear gas. Valls was not home at the time but on a visit to Algeria.
Up All Night began in Paris and has now spread to around 50 other cities across France, as well as to Belgium and Spain. Its activists occupy central city squares overnight and vacate them in the morning.
“Get Indignant!” is painted on a paving stone in the vast Paris square, a nod to Spain’s Indignados, who gave rise to the far-left Podemos party.
Up All Night also emulates the anti-capitalist Occupy movement in the United States and Greece’s anti-austerity 700 Euro Generation.
“We haven’t seen this for a long time,” said Emeric Degui, 33, an activist with Désobéir (Disobey). The protests against the labour reforms have “awakened awareness”, he said.
Valls Meets Student Leaders
Today, the BBC reports Valls Met Student Leaders, Promising Jobseeker Aid.
Mr Valls announced the new aid package during a meeting with student leaders on Monday. It includes a four-month subsidy for graduates who face financial hardship while seeking work. There will also be a state housing guarantee for people under 30, which could apply to 300,000 people renting property.
The leader of France’s main student organisation Unef, William Martinet, welcomed Mr Valls’ package but said the protests against the labour bill would continue.
The labour bill would remove some of the protection workers enjoy against being laid off, in a bid to encourage businesses to hire more people.
It envisages giving employers more flexibility in setting the hours that their staff work; lowering the current high barriers to dismissal of staff; and new rules on industrial tribunal payouts.
Many Socialist voters see the current labour protections and 35-hour working week as key achievements that must not be sacrificed for a pro-business economic agenda.
Socialist Key Achievements
Those “key achievements” are precisely why French unemployment is so high and France is so messed up. Businesses do not want to hire people because they cannot get rid of them once they do.
In essence, the economically illiterate “Nuit Debout” consortium is begging for more pain. Free money and state housing guarantees will not fix the problem, it will only make matters worse.
Comparison to US
Support for “Nuit Debout” is roughly equivalent to support in the US for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. US citizens feel betrayed, especially by the student loans system, bank bailouts, and loss of jobs to China.
The “social contract is broken” and no one seems to know how to fix it.
For further discussion, please see Steen Jakobsen Explains the Rise of Trump “Social Contract is Broken”
Mike “Mish” Shedlock