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Society

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://www.humanite.fr/de-la-rue-au...

by SÉBASTIEN CRÉPEL and MARION D’ALLARD

From the street to the town squares, people want a future which does not include the El Khomri law

Translated Friday 15 April 2016, by Richard Bach

A fifth day of action, organised by youth organisations and trade unions, in protest against the El Khomri labour law, was held on Tuesday. Words are being used like "symptom," "catalyst" and "symbol" ... If the withdrawal of the bill remains the aim of the protest, it now provides the base of a larger struggle, where the emergence of “Nuits debout” (a movement involving night sit-ins and debates) is the one of the expressions.

The movement against the El Khomri law has entered its fifth week. In Paris, Rennes, Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Amiens, Lille, Nantes, etc., youth organizations mobilized again yesterday, to mark the debate of the labour law in the National Assembly, before a big day of cross-industry events on Saturday.

Police violence once again spoiled the party. In Paris alone, 130 people, including teachers, were arrested. At the same time, the Nuit Debout (“Standing Nights”) movement, which has been occupying of public spaces at night, including the Place de la République in Paris since last Thursday, is spreading to other cities.

Anger has also extended to the entertainment industry, where many people have been participating in general meetings. Streets and squares have become the theatre for new forms of citizen expressions inventing the future of a "desirable life," quite different from the precarious situation that they would find themselves in under the El Khomri law.

The government is meeting youth organizations today (6 April). Could it be giving up hope? As the days pass, anger spills over in lecture halls, factories, general assemblies, and now in the public squares of major cities in France. The rage seems unstoppable. Yesterday, youth organizations and unions called for a fifth day of mobilization against the labour law.

This time, the fury is not confined to the protesters. It includes young people, schoolchildren and students, ahead of the big new meeting on Saturday. The extent of the social heatwave can be appreciated by the protesters’ vocabulary. They refer to the El Khomri law using words like “symptom," "catalyst", and "symbol" ...

While the aim of the protesters remains the rejection of the El Khomri law, it now forms the basis of a larger struggle, where the emergence of “Nuits debout” (standing nights) is the most visible part. It "addresses a critical need for self-expression”, the student protest specialist Robi Morder explained in la Croix. “In the debates, people aren’t just talking about the labour law. Young people are talking just as urgently about the state of housing and social projects ...” It’s not just young people but also "pensioners, farmers and associations that are lining up behind the new generation." It is a line-up that holds plenty of promise.


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