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Paris: Sorbonne is occupied

Bob | 10.03.2006 12:09 | French CPE uprising 2006 | Education | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | World

Since yesterday evening, the legendary university Sorbonne in the Latin
Quarter of Paris is occupied. Even though the CRS (French Riot Police)
was present, the occupation could be held throughout the night...A new
chance for social change?

translation of original text by Asterix deux Gaulles (au moins) - 09.03.06

Yesterday evening, the Sorbonne, located on the Boulevard Saint Germain, was occupied.
This hasn't only happened before, the last time it happened it actually
triggered a cultural revolution [mai '68 revolts in France].

Not everyone can afford to studey in the vicinity of the jardin du
Luxembourg. Recently, Ronalde, a friend of '68, told me that "the really
cool thing then was that the rich kids went crazy: In spite of posh
clothes and gluttony, the tried to throw cobblestones at their parents -
The Sorbonne is famous ever since. Not as Elite-University (as it is
now), but because it was turned into a "people's university". The
university was in a sense the center of protests that would radically
change Central European society.

Anyway, back to unemotional fact-based journalism:). For about 6 weeks
now, protests have erupted all over France against the attacks on
working rights. Trade Unionists, "normal" workers, Students and school
pupils are uniting to prevent this egg. But it is only an egg. If the
protests are used decently, this egg can be stopped, but it is
essentially about more, it is about the chicken pen, the factories -the
whole bakery!

In France, for several weeks now, people have been gathering support and
last tuesday, almost a million people protested against CPE [the law
about work rights] etc. Approximately 20 universities are being striked
or occupied presently. The movement is even to the
Sorbonne. 2 weeks ago, a few voices from Sorbonne were posting on the
French Indymedias: "we are 5 and are trying to form a movement..."
Yesterday evening about 80 students stayed in the rooms of the Richelieu
and others [the Sorbonne]. Even though a big number of CRS and other
"forces of order" stopped any support from outside, the number of
occupiers doubled over the night. They couldn't be evicted, because the
Sorbonne is to hard to break open and student reinforcements enter
through the windows...

This Afternoon, police presence in the Latin Quarter was shifted towards
the Sorbonne. A general meeting was called in the Sorbonne, to which one
had to carry one's student ID to (to show to Security - to stop
non-elite-students, external "autonome" and other evil scum...).
Strangely, the students of the qt. Latin who are often called lemmings,
managed to get more than 500 students to their general meeting. They
voted for Blockades and Occupations in the university (Yep, this is
normal in France...) and for free and unchecked access to the university.
This incredible, even though left-wing instigated event (Elite-students,
Yusties...they voted for occupations!!!) could fill the protests in
France with new Dynamism. Let's see what'll happen in the course of the
day. It would be stupid to continue present repression against the
students (as it has been happening in Tours, Lille, Toulouse and in
other Towns). About 38 years ago the Sorbonne was surrounded and
evicted. 600 arrests and 3 months of street fighting (rioting) in the
whole of Europe...Sarkozy - Think!