In May an estimated 1,000 people gathered in Paris’ Place de la Bastille, a symbolic location after the fall of the hated Bastille prison to revolutionaries in 1789, but police cleared them out. Subsequent marches were in the hundreds of people but failed to take root, with the holiday season putting the brakes on anger.
Student leaders are now pinning their hopes on a new bid to “Occupy La Defense” – the business district west of Paris that houses the headquarters of French bank Societe Generale, among others – on Friday. But they admit that rabble-rousing is a tough business these days, even with the G20 landing in Cannes.
“We don’t know how it’s going to go…We’re hoping it will take off but we just don’t know,” said Baki Youssoufou, a 30-year-old Sorbonne graduate who heads a student union taking part in the event. “Will we see the same numbers that we saw in Madrid or in New York? I don’t think so. We’ll need a few more weeks for that.”