a day of emotion and actions to denounce student precariousness


Rally of students on November 12 in Lyon, four days after the tragedy.
Rally of students on November 12 in Lyon, four days after the tragedy. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

In several institutions, the return to university, Tuesday, November 12, was in the emotion. Four days earlier, just before the long weekend of November 11, Anas K. set herself on fire in front of the building of the Regional Center for Academic and Academic Art (Crous) de la Madeleine, in Lyon. This 22-year-old student left a message denouncing his precarious situation.

A call to gather all over France was launched by the union Solidaires student.e.s, to which belongs the young man, severely burned and still between life and death in the hospital, Tuesday night. This call has received the support of several other student and teacher organizations, and that of a handful of political parties (Europe Ecology-The Greens, the Democratic and Social Left, La France Insoumise, the NPA).

Several hundred young people, teachers, trade unionists gathered – in some forty cities after Solidaires – in tribute to the student and to denounce student precariousness. This same precariousness that Anas K. himself has told, in a post on Facebook, before his suicide attempt. In Saint-Etienne, city where he comes from, they were 150, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP). In Bordeaux, in the afternoon, they were a few dozen in front of the Victory building, more than a hundred in front of the Crous.

In Paris at the end of the day, after a rally in front of Crous du Port-Royal, a procession marched on boulevard Saint-Michel. At around 8 pm, videos shared on social media reported protesters intruding into the outer courtyard of the Ministry of Higher Education. Intrusions confirmed by the ministry. The protesters left, following a police intervention.

In the North, in front of Crous de Lille, some 300 to 400 people gathered, behind placards "Precariousness kills, solidarity makes live". On the banners, many took up the slogan with which Anas K. concluded his last message: "Long live socialism, long live self-management, long live social security". Students then parade through the streets, and entered the law school, where they prevented the holding of a lecture by Francois Hollande. The intrusion was made with cries of "Lyon, Lyon, neither forgetfulness nor forgiveness", "Holland assassin! " some tearing up the pages of his latest book.

In the evening, the university expressed "His consternation and condemned the overflows that occurred"with "The intrusion of demonstrators partly outside the establishment". The former President of the Republic, he said, understand a "Legitimate emotion", regretting, however "That emotion has turned into violence".

"An eminently political gesture"

In Lyon, the rally began at 10 o'clock in front of Crous de la Madeleine, where Anas K. took action on 8 November. At the microphone, his girlfriend read the message he posted on social networks, in front of an assembly of several hundred people. The student in political science talks about his financial difficulties, his loss of scholarship after three repetitions in the second year of license – " even when I had it, 450 euros a month, is it enough to live? " – and asks that "His comrades continue to struggle"enunciating many claims, including that of "Student salary". Late in the morning, the procession went to the buildings of Lyon-II University. A general assembly voted there on "Blockage" from the big university of human sciences. Dozens of people entered the premises of the university presidency.

Demonstration of students, November 12 in Lyon.
Demonstration of students, November 12 in Lyon. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

In front of Crous Lyonnais, a few hours earlier, behind the tears of many shocked young people, anger was expressed without restraint, among his "comrades" Solidaires or the unionists who came to support, FO, the CGT. "Decent living conditions for all students"could you read on the posters, between the union flags. The traditional slogans of student struggles have been chanted by a public obviously accustomed to mobilizations. "Young people in the galley; old people in misery; this society, we do not want it ".

This "Desperate gesture reflected his personal situation"but it is also "An eminently political gesture", defends a Lyon student at the podium. "The sadness turned into anger and rage"said Jean-Baptiste, Anas K.'s comrade, and a member of Solidaires. "Against this system that grinds lives, against this government: what we are waiting for now are answers." The "support of Frederique Vidal (Minister of Higher Education)it's nice, but what we want is acts, it's more grants, it's a student salary, it's housing "he continues.

In the student ranks, suspicion "Instrumentalization" or 'Recovery' heard in political circles, or the reference to the " personal situation " from Anas K., cause misunderstanding. "Many people identify with their social distress", says a student. "I'm lucky to have a grant of 480 euros, relates Hanna, student at Lyon-II in the first year of letters. But the conditions of study are not simple, I have to live with my sister, I need almost two hours to come to college, morning and evening, many of us can not afford to live in Lyon. "

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"I understand his gesture, abounds Hind, a student in master 1 of sociology. I live, like him, with a purse of 450 euros per month, and I know that we can not live. " After having withdrawn her incompressible charges (rent in Crous student room, transport, telephone), the young woman said to juggle with 100 euros. His parents can not afford to help him. "In September, it's even worse, I had nothing from the 15th of the month …", she relates. In practice : "We do not eat at every meal. " "Yes, it affects the mind not to know how we will finish the month. "

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