Team red in Paris: Nuit Debout, the beginning of a social movement

By Chikulupi Kasaka

Red Team Travellers from “Europe on Track 3” went to Paris to understand the French Clichés, taking part on the AEGEE-Paris event Voulez-vous Clicher avec moi?

On 23rd the team arrived at the famous Place De la République, where the so-called Nuit Debout protests are held. Nuit Debout is a French word meaning “Rising Up All Night”. Travellers had an opportunity to interview a few people from the crowd participating in the “Nuit Debout” and had this to tell.

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What is Nuit Debout?

Nuit Debout started as a movement with protests against the government for their new project on Labour Law Reforms. It started as a small idea and grew bigger to other cities in Europe and especially in France with bigger and different ideas and perspectives. We conduct peaceful demonstrations and we have legal permission to do it.

We are allowed to be here and stay here from 4pm to 12pm (Midnight) every day. When we arrive, we arrange everything to be ready for our discussions, and when we leave we take all our things with us until the following day.

What is it for?

We question if our parliamentarians and representatives are really representing the people and people’s interest, the common interest. People want freedom of speech as well as freedom of expression over the things and topics the parliamentarians are discussing.

With new reforms, the government wants to change the current protective labour laws to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers. We want to be able to discuss and have a say. We are against how the electorates and parliamentarians represent us and our agenda. We are not against the electoral system.

What kind of people participates?

We want it to represent all kinds of people. We want it to be as representative as possible, we welcome all those who can join us, we aim to represent the French society, the people. There is a great and peaceful atmosphere around here. People are happy and cheerful. I can say that we are working really hard to keep this peaceful and full of hope spirit.

Is it the only agenda?

Nuit Debout started as a protest against labour law reforms by the government, but as I said before it grew bigger and now we discuss about many different kinds of topics. The protestors are many, we have a great varieties of ideas and perspectives. Within our discussions, we always try to reach a consensus.

How long will it last?

It is the 3rd week now since we started but we want Nuit Debout to last longer, not only weeks but months and become sustainable. We have a working group for arranging different activities including votes.

Do you all go home after mid-night?

It is not always the case. There are other people with different agendas who want to stay behind. There are those who want to sleep there and the police fight to remove them and cause violence.

Have you contacted other protestors in other European citiesor other similar social movements?

I haven’t done so personally, but other colleagues have done so.

What are the future goals with Nuit Debout?

We want to overcome the challenge of having different ideas. We want to harmonize ourselves and come up with common ideas and express them to our representatives, to explain them that we are not happy in the way it’s working now . We believe that in future more people will join us.


Being able to presence the beginning of this interesting social movement has been an amazing experience for us, team red travellers! We want to thank AEGEE-Paris for organising such a great event and for helping us with translations and interviews 🙂

See you somewehere in Europe!