This week’s traditional May Day protests kicked off, what many expect will be a month of unrest by angry workers and French students, recalling another tumultuous time 50 years ago.
May 1968 started as a student protest for more freedoms.It quickly spread to factories, nearly paralyzing the economy.At one point, nearly a million people marched in Paris, demanding that France’s aging president in wartime leader Charles de Gaulle resign,instead his party triumphed in legislative elections the following month,but the revolt had long-term effects.De Gaulle stepped down a year later,and May 68 was much more than a protest movement.It was sexual freedom. It was political freedom. It was political rights. It was about music. It was about creativity in the young world away from parent authority.
Some believe it was more about chaos than anything else. They burned cars. It was destroying just to destroy. What they wanted for education was no more effort no more selection.Some of that chaos was seen at this week’s protests for different reasons.
May 68 started at Nanterre University outside Paris, which has been blockaded in recent weeks over a student uprising against new government admission procedures.Our demands are similar. We asking for more freedom and rights for everyone and better quality education.Rail workers are also protesting over government plans to overhaul the national railway.Airline workers, health workers, immigrant rights activists and anti-capitalists are angry,but there is something missing in May 2018.May 68 was a much more collective and general movement with a much more radical agenda to change politics and government.
Today, that’s not the case.Now when you see protests and friends, it’s not about freedom. It’s not about changing the world.It’s all about security and protection.May 68 ended one era, France’s current president Emmanuel Macron is part of the new one.He wasn’t even born until a decade after the uprising.Still he can expect one continuity more angry French on the streets in the weeks and months to come.
Lisa Bryant for VOA news Paris
美国之音新闻，Lisa Bryant 巴黎报道。