• Short Summary

    THE SORBONNE IN PARIS - EUROPE'S SECOND OLDEST UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN RINGED BY STRONG CORDONS OF FRENCH GOVERNMENT SECURITY FORCES SINCE ITS OCCUPATION BY THE STUDENTS MORE THAN THREE WEEKS AGO.

  • Description

    THE SORBONNE IN PARIS - EUROPE'S SECOND OLDEST UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN RINGED BY STRONG CORDONS OF FRENCH GOVERNMENT SECURITY FORCES SINCE ITS OCCUPATION BY THE STUDENTS MORE THAN THREE WEEKS AGO. ITS HALLOWED PRECINCTS ARE "OUT OF BOUNDS" TO THEM UNDER THE TERMS OF A STATUTE DATING BACK TO THE MIDDLE OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY, WHEN IT WAS FOUNDED BY ONE ROBERT DE SORBON AS A THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE, AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH CONTROLLED THE COUNTRY'S EDUCATION.

    THEY WAIT FOR AN INCIDENT WHICH WILL NECESSITATE THEIR INTERVENTION, OR THE UNLIKELIHOOD OF AN INVITATION TO ENTER. MEANWHILE, THE SORBONNE RESEMBLES A MEDIEVAL CASTLE. IN THE COURTYARD STUDENTS GATHER TO HAMMER OUT POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES; THE POSSIBLE COURSE OF EVENTS; THE FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS; HOW THEIR FAMILIES ARE FARING - AND THE UPCOMING SUMMER VACATION. WORDS, GENTLE AND VIOLENT, FILL THE CORRIDORS, COMMITTEE ROOMS AND AMPHITHEATRES - WHERE ALL THE IDEAS FORMED BY THE 'COMMITTEE OF CO-ORDINATION' (THE STUDENT GOVERNMENT OF THE SORBONNE) ARE PUT TO THE POPULAR VOTE.

    HIGHLY ORGANISED, THE STUDENTS HAVE IN EFFECT PRODUCED AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC. STUDENTS EAT HERE, SLEEP HERE, CREATE AND ORATE HERE, THERE IS A HOSPITAL AND A NURSERY FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE "FORCED D'OCCUPATION". WHILE THE 'COMMITTEE OF COORDINATION' FORMULATES THEIR NEXT MOVES, THE PRESS OFFICE WORKS 24 HOURS A DAY. IT ISN'T EASY TO GAIN ACCESS TO THIS OFFICE - FORMERLY THE OFFICE OF A PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY - FOR NEWSMEN ARE NOT ENCOURAGED INSIDE THE SORBONNE EXCEPT FOR THE OCCASIONAL PRESS CONFERENCE BY LEADERS SUCH AS DANY COHN-BENDIT. BUSTS OF AUGUST HISTORICAL FIGURES STAND DISGUISED ON CLUTTERED CUPBOARDS DRESSED IN HOME-MADE GAS MASKS AND STEEL HELMETS OF THE TYPE USED BY THE STUDENTS IN THEIR INNUMERABLE CLASHES WITH SECURITY FORCES. ONE WEARS A GAG BEARING SLOGANS AGAINST RESTRICTIONS PLACED UPON THE FRENCH PRESS, AND THE WALLS ARE DECORATED WITH POSTERS AND CARTOONS QUESTIONING THE SENILITY OF MEMBERS OF THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT, AND CONDEMNING THE BRUTALITY OF THE C.R.S. (CAMPAGNIE REPUBLICAINE DE SECURITY), THE PARA-MILITARY UNIT CREATED DURING THE UNEASY DAYS OF GENERAL DE GAULLE'S PROVISIONAL PRESIDENCY IN 1944, WHO WITH A FEROCITY THAT SHOCKED ALL WHO SAW IT, DROVE THE STUDENTS FROM THE BARRICADES IN THE LATIN QUARTER DURING THE NIGHT OF MAY 10TH.

    IN THE AMPHITHEATRE, A PUBLIC MEETING IS HELD EVERY EVENING AND THOUSANDS PACK THE AISLES TO HEAR PROPOSALS AND APPRAISALS OF THE COMMITTEE. PEOPLE SPEAK FROM THE FLOOR AT WILL. THERE IS NO PONDEROUS FORMALITY; NO POINTS OF INFORMATION, ORDER, MOTIONS, PROPOSERS AND SECONDERS. THEY SAY WHAT THEY FEEL. AND ATMOSPHERE OF BUBBLING ANARCHY PREVAILS, BUT SOMEHOW THE SPONTANEITY WORKS.

    THE 'FORCE D'ORDRE' IS THE STUDENT POLICE FORCE. THEIRS IS THE TASK, AS WITH ANY OTHER OFFICIAL FORCE, OF MAINTAINING LAW AND ORDER AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF HOT-BLOODED REVOLUTIONARY STUDENTS PENNED UP WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY. BUT THEY ALSO PROTECT THE BUILDINGS FROM "INVASION BY GAULLIST GUERILLAS" - WHO WERE BLAMED FOR THE FIRE THAT DESTROYED THE PERSONAL RECORDS SECTION OF THE ARCHIVES LAST WEEK. WHILE PARIS FIREMEN FOUGHT THIS BLAZE THE 'FORCE D'ORDRE' PATROLLED WITH ALSATION DOGS, ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE UNEXPECTED EFFICIENCY OF THE 'FORCE D'OCCUPATION', AND OTHERS LINKED ARMS AND BLOCKED THE ROADS AROUND THE BUILDINGS, AND CITY POLICE CARS WAITED HELPLESSLY OUTSIDE THEIR HUMAN BARRIER. THEY USED THE 'HUMAN BARRIER' SYSTEM WHEN ARMY UNITS MOVED INTO THE BOULEVARD ST. MICHEL TO CLEAN UP THE DEBRIS AFTER BULLDOZERS HAD BEEN USED TO DEMOLISH THE BARRICADES, AND AGAIN TO PROTECT DANY COHN-BENDIT WHEN HE EMERGED FROM HIDING FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE HIS ARRIVAL BACK FROM GERMANY TO LEAD A STUDENT DEMONSTRATION PARADE FROM MONTPARNASSE TO AUSTERLITZ LAST WEEK-END.

    SLOGANS AND POSTERS PORTRAITS OF POPULAR HEROES. SUCH AS MAO TSE-TUNG AND CUBAN GUERRILLA LEADER CHE GUEVARRA COVER EVERY WALL, WINDOW, PILLAR AND STATUE INSIDE THE BUILDING. THERE ARE ALSO VERY DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE A MOLOTOV COCKTAIL AND BOMBS, THE TREATMENT FOR TEAR-GAS BLINDNESS AND CONCUSSION. AND STILL THE TALKING GOES ON. BUT AFTER DE GAULLE'S SPEECH OF MAY 30TH, IN WHICH HE REFUSED TO RESIGN AND RALLIED A GREAT DEAL OF SUPPORT BY HIS STATED DETERMINATION TO TACKLE THE PROBLEMS OF A STRIKE AND RIOT WEARY POPULATION AFTER A GENERAL ELECTION, ALL EMOTION SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN SUCKED OUT OF THE SORBONNE. THE EXCITEMENT IS OVER FOR THE TIME BEING, AND MORALE SEEMS VERY LOW. FROM CONVERSATIONS WITH THE STUDENTS ONE GETS THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY HAVE SUFFERED A DEFEAT, WHEREAS IN FACT THEY HAVE SCORED AN UNPARALLELED VICTORY. IN THREE WEEKS THEY DESTROYED THE FRENCH SYSTEM OF SECONDARY AND HIGHER EDUCATION, RUINED THE GOVERNMENT'S SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC POLICIES, ANDDESTROYED THE GOVERNMENT. THE INDUSTRIAL CHAOS THAT HAS FOLLOWED THEIR 'REVOLUTION' HAS BEEN LARGELY OUT OF THE STUDENTS HANDS, BUT IT WAS THEY WHO LIT THE FUSE OF THIS CONVULSION OF THE FIFTH REPUBLIC.

    WITH THE COMING HOLIDAYS - BEGINNING EARLY JULY - THE SORBONNE WILL BE LEFT TO THE POLICE, PROFESSORS, CLEANERS - AND THE TOURISTS, FOR WHOM THE LATIN QUARTER HAS BECOME A TOP-OF-THE-POPS TOURIST ATTRACTION. BUT THE STUDENTS RETURN MAY PRESAGE FURTHER EXCITEMENT DEPENDENT UPON WHAT ACTION THE GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN MEANWHILE TO FULFIL THEIR PROMISED REFORM OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL STRUCTURES WHICH WOULD ALLOW FOR INVOLVEMENT OF THE STUDENTS IN THE RUNNING OF THE OVERCROWDED UNIVERSITIES, AND THE WORKERS IN MANAGEMENT OF INDUSTRY.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA6FY4G8UZCL5PIYUYS4ORBTYPO
    Media URN:
    VLVA6FY4G8UZCL5PIYUYS4ORBTYPO
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    04/06/1968
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:03:40:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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