the youth revolution shaking the heart of paris

On Thursday 31st of March, French students assembled in Place de la Republique to protest against changing work laws. What began as a simple demonstration grew into four days of occupation. Could this be the start of a new movement for social change in...

by i-D Staff
05 April 2016, 11:32pm

Our photographer Léon Prost followed the demonstrations that began on Thursday 31 March in protest against changing work regulations that would make it easier to sack young workers. It was a day marked by rain, hope, sadness and violence. What began as a protest march turned into a movement, assembled under the banner #nuitdebout, trying to reinvent the future with a message to remain united.

Hundreds of thousands of students and workers took to the streets of major cities in France that day, determined to obtain the withdrawal of labour law. But under the rain in Republique, the protestors were attacked by riot police, keen to disperse them. Everyone was on edge: the young, the old, the police, the poor, the rich. Less than six months after the terrorist attacks of 13 November, Paris feels tense, exhausted, upset. But the videos are still playing on loop on YouTube of young kids getting beaten by cops, screaming people, and crying youth.

Thousands gathered in Republique each night after, a communion to speak of hope and future; young people, migrants, the unemployed and academics. Those aspiring to something bigger. What? Nobody really knows - "Our dreams don't fit into your politics," they wrote on their placards. 


Photography Léon Prost