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It began, like many other revolutionary movements, over something small. In March 1967 students at Nanterre, a bleak new campus on the outskirts of Paris, started a campaign for the right to visit each others' rooms after 11pm.
The campaign grumbled along. It drew in other issues - overcrowding, and the content of courses. On 2 May 1968 the exasperated administration shut down the campus.
On Friday 3 May the Nanterre activists went to the Sorbonne, in the centre of Paris, for a protest meeting. There were rumours that fascists would attack the meeting.