Revisiting France's 1968 Riots

The current riots are the worst civil unrest France has seen since 1968. Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne report that the 1968 riots began with a series of student demonstrations in Paris.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


When people say this is France's worst rioting in decades, they're referring to unrest in 1968. Those disturbances were very different.


Rather than poor neighborhoods, the 1968 unrest started at an elite institution. There was an anti-government rally at France's best-known university, Sorbonne. The demonstration turned violent and police moved in.

MONTAGNE: Soon an alliance of students, labor unions and left-wing political parties held many demonstrations. They protested the US war in Vietnam and the policies of President Charles de Gaulle.

INSKEEP: The government appeared close to falling in 1968, but President de Gaulle appealed to the public, threatened to use military force and survived a vote of confidence.

MONTAGNE: That diffused the crisis. It's unclear what steps the French government will take to diffuse the current situation.

You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.