Tuesday morning, a hundred people blocked the entrance to a building of the Sorbonne-University in the 18th arrondissement. Franceinfo met these young people in solidarity with the social movement.
Against the pension reform, the universities are entering the dance of protest. In Paris, the Tolbiac campus opened the ball on Monday, March 20, by voting in a general assembly to occupy the site. This is also the case in Bordeaux, Jussieu, Montpellier, Nanterre, Lille and even Saint-Etienne, where students are continuing their mobilization after the rejection of the cross-partisan censure motion in the National Assembly.
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In the Clignancourt district, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, a hundred students gathered, Tuesday, March 21, in the early morning, to block the entrance to the campus of the Sorbonne-University and thus join a dispute which hardens , since the use of section 49.3 by the government to have its reform adopted.
In front of the gate, a few trash cans block the entrance. Above, cardboard placards with slogans hostile to the government’s project… The blocking was voted the day before, during an GA which brought together “150 people”, according to the students present. Some are members of student unions or wear New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) or Communist Youth insignia. Others claim no particular affiliation.
Mobilized for their parents
This is the case of Allie, 19, her face buried in a white puffer jacket, but smiling and “happy” to be there. The day before, she lived her “first GA”. This morning is his first blockage. The use of Article 49.3, she says, decided it “to mobilize”.
“Since the ‘yellow vests’, the government has never moved. Macron did not even want to debate during the last presidential campaign. I have the impression that no one is being listened to, there is a feeling of ras -the general bowl in the population.”Allie, student
She also thinks of her father, “a bit militant”which she wishes “defend” in the face of pension reform. Next to her, one of her classmates, Elsa, all dressed in black, approves. “This reform, I also fight it for my parentsshe explains. My mother worked in a factory for twenty-five years, my father is a garbage collector. So retirement at 64, they will never last.”
Forge links between generations
A little after 7:30 a.m., other students arrive in handfuls while The Dumpling de Diam’s resounds in front of the university. “It’s not the school that will dictate our codes, nah, nah…”, strikes the rapper in her song. A dump truck passes and honks enthusiastically, then a RATP bus, which does the same. Applause and raised fists answer them. “This blockage also serves to make universities more visible and to show our support for workers”explains Elsa.
This is also the opinion of Raphaël, 18, a foreign language student and member of Communist Youth: “It is not us alone who are going to bend the government, but our action must help the strikers and the workers who cannot go on strike.”
“It’s important that everyone, regardless of age, joins the movement.”Raphael, student
For him, the purpose of blocking is also to be able to free up time for students and allow them to join other actions. “For example on the pickets of the garbage collectors” and thus create intergenerational links. This student also believes that the use of 49.3 is a turning point in mobilization. “Since the government is turning a deaf ear, I am not against developing more radical actions”he says.
“It’s cool that we block, that we mobilizeadds another student. Before, we struggled a bit to gather, we did GAs at 30. There, things are moving! he rejoices. In the exchanges, the subjects of conversation go beyond the question of pensions. Some mention “the SNU scam”, Universal National Service, which the government is thinking of extending; others the “fight for the climate” and the new mobilization against mega-basins announced on March 25 in Deux-Sèvres.
A GA to decide what to do next
Blocking continues after 8 hours. In actions sometimes tinged with romanticism, such as when students hang flowers on the iron barriers placed in front of the university gate. Staff from the nearby university restaurant come to show their support. “If it were up to me, they could block college for a month”, smiles a man of forty years, white charlotte on the head. He is delighted to see younger people than him joining the movement because “pensions concern us all”.
A teacher is also there to support his students. “The reform risks creating a generation of marginalized people in the world of work, and the government does not hear the challenge. I understand that young people want to overturn the table”, he explains, his face hidden behind a white cloth mask.
“For now, the students are calm, but I don’t know if it will last. If the police arrive, I’m afraid it will end badly. That’s also why I’m staying there.”A teacher from the Sorbonne-University
At 9 a.m., a new general assembly which franceinfo was able to attend is organized in front of the campus. “Something is happening at the level of the youth, since Thursday, at nightfall, many young people go out in the streets, and some are massacred by the police. We, in the universities, we have to show that we are present, to maintain the pressure on the government”launches a student by way of introduction.
But how to continue the mobilization? Should the campus doors be kept closed all day? Or join a demonstration in support of the strikers of a waste incinerator in the south of Paris? In the megaphone, the speeches are linked.
“If we let go of the blockage, classes resume, we have to be credible, that we hold together, in front of this campus.”A student
at the general assembly on the Clignancourt campus
“It’s true, but I think we also have to show our support for the strikers and the workers – that’s the basis of the movement. We have the possibility of being even more numerous, of intensifying the wild processions, c it’s time to go”, launches another student. A student delegation is also formed to go to another campus, to “help the mobilization to organize itself also in other universities”. And on Wednesday, the students will be there early in the morning, to continue the blockade.