Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Protests in Paris, May 1968 – photographs then and now. By Alicia Canter and Guy Lane

As Paris exploded in mass protests, words scrawled on the walls of the Sorbonne summed up the revolutionary zeal: “Run free, comrade, we’ve left the old world behind!” Fifty years on, May 1968 remains a watershed moment. Photographer Alicia Canter revisits the key locations.
The black and white images of students lobbing cobblestones over barricades in the Latin Quarter of Paris in May 1968 are still clung to as defining a significant moment in modern French history. The May 1968 protests are remembered for students in Nanterre, outside Paris, railing against rules preventing men and women students visiting each other’s living quarters. But the row about the right to be treated as adults was soon subsumed into much bigger concerns and disillusionment with the leadership of an ageing General de Gaulle in an oppressively hierarchical society.

More than 9 million workers staged wildcat strikes in May 1968, closing factories, occupying workspaces and paralysing France with the largest strike movement in Europe since the second world war. Hierarchy was chipped away but it was a slow, incremental type of revolution – De Gaulle won elections in June 1968, only sidling out of politics the following year... see photos:

More Than 200 Demonstrators Arrested During May Day Rallies In Paris