The French General Strikes in 2009 came during the first quarter of the country’s recession and was the first general strike in an industrialized nation since the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. Economic forecasts predicted that the economy would contract by 2 percent in 2009 and that unemployment would reach 10 percent by 2010. In response to these poor economic predictions, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a $34 billion stimulus plan in December, which included capital infusions to banks of more than $11 billion.
The May revolt started as a student protest over the closing of the University of Paris’ Nanterre campus. The campus closed after months of escalation of student protests. These protests initially stemmed from a fight for sexual liberation (or the right to have visitors of the opposite sex in dorms) that later radicalized to become a fight for more student influence in the education system, and finally for a complete change of economic and social structure.