Nuit Debout was created by students in Rennes on April 5th 2016 after protests in Paris. Students first attempted to organize the Nuit Debout movement March 31st following the first protests in Paris, but the State prohibited public demonstrations in the historical city center. The State felt these prohibitions were justified as a result of clashes and vandalism that occurred during previous protests.
Because establishing Nuit Debout in the historical city center of Rennes presented a significant challenge, the movement was established at a location to the south of the city center. The organizers named this location “The Place of the People.”
Every day citizens discuss issues, concerns, and their hopes for society in a general assembly. Between one and two hundred people participate daily. Different commissions were created to organize the movement (logistics, communications, etc.), to discuss and address target issues (direct democracy, agriculture, workers’ rights, etc.), and to organize various activities (food, pubs, movies, etc.)
On May 1st 2016, after a workers’ demonstration, a group of protestors occupied a municipal concert hall to merge different social causes in Rennes (student protests, temporary workers, citizens involved with Nuit Debout, etc.). Demonstrators have since named the hall “The Occupied House of the People.”
Members of Nuit Debout participated in the occupation of the hall. As a result, it served as a meeting place for Nuit Debout committees as well as a forum for demonstrators to engage in discussion. Following a week long agreement between the municipality and the demonstrators, the hall was cleared by the state in conjugation with the local government.
A month and a half after the birth of Nuit Debout, there are now two general assemblies per week; one in the “The Place of the people” and another which takes place after an organic market on Avenue Francois Mitterand.
The Youth Research Chair at the French School of Public Health in Rennes (EHESP) has recently been selected by the House of Human Sciences Foundation (FMSHS) and the University Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC) to research “Nuit Debout” along with new forms of youth mobilization. A comparative approach to the local and European level will be used to investigate these new forms of mobilization, particularly those taking place in public places within host cities of Partispace partners (Bologna, Italy; Manchester, UK; Eskisehir, Turkey). An open conference on new forms of protest movements will be organized by the French School of Public Health Rennes, the University of Bologna, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Yeditepe University.