The summer of 1968 is etched into American memory as one of nationwide turmoil, with political assassinations, anti-war protests, racial unrest and highly publicized clashes with police. But this isn’t just an American story. The conflict between a diverse, anti-war left, and a tightening of law-and-order efforts on the right spread far beyond U.S. borders, notably coming to a head in France in May 1968.
“What began as a student protest became a labor dispute which actually became a political crisis. And so by the end of the month it was possible that de Gaulle’s government – and maybe even the Fifth Republic– could fall,”
That’s when a violent confrontation between police and student protestors in Paris gave way to a nationwide general strike involving 11 million workers. As the 50th anniversary of the demonstrations arrives, the French people and their government are grappling with how best to commemorate the movement. Below is a brief guide, detailing what happened in Europe five decades ago [ . . . ]
Continue at SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE: Fifty Years Later, France Is Still Debating the Legacy of Its 1968 Protests | History | Smithsonian
As demonstrations spread in France over the government’s university reforms and some students joined ranks with striking rail-workers, there is increased talk of whether France is heading for a repeat of ‘May 68’?
“May 68. They are commemorating, we are starting again”, reads a slogan recently tagged onto the statue at the iconic Place de la République square in central Paris, which is so often the hub where protesters and strikers gather.
The graffiti is not just wanton vandalism and could be a word of warning to the French government.
Nearly 50 years ago in May 1968, student protests over the education system flared up into nationwide confrontation and turned into one of the greatest upheaval in modern day France.
“Protesting and contesting are always a potential political option for youth people, and that’s a good thing for the vitality of our democracy,”
This week, student demonstrations over new tighter university admissions rules appeared to be headed in the same direction, as several hundred students in the universities of Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg and Bordeaux joined ranks with France’s railworkers as they staged a second day of strikes. [ . . . ]
More at: THE LOCAL As strikes and student protests mount, is France heading for a rerun of May 68? – The Local