Trois Glorieuses (1963)

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The Trois Glorieuses (Three Glorious Days) was an uprising in Congo-Brazzaville which occurred August 13–15, 1963. The uprising ended the rule of the first Congolese President, Fulbert Youlou, as the opposition trade union movement and Congolese Youth Union struck an alliance with the army.[1]

Background[edit]

Congo-Brazzaville had become independent in 1960. The rule of the first president, Fulbert Youlou, developed in an authoritarian direction. During a tour of Haut-Congo in August 1962, Youlou proposed turning Congo into a single-party state, led by his party UDDIA. At the time, other political parties had ceased to function as an effective opposition, whilst the trade union movement CGAT and the Congolese Youth Union (two groups singled out by Youlou as 'communists') had suffered crackdowns.[2]

By mid-1963, the Congolese labour movement had become increasingly vocal. A state visit by the Guinean president, Sékou Touré, June 5–6 proved a turning point. During Touré's visit, trade unions and youth movements held protests, hailing Touré and ridiculing Youlou.[3] Later, a united front of trade union centres was formed. On July 2, 1963, two joint trade union committees were formed, one of them consisting of CGAT, CSAL and CATC. In protest against the proposal to install a one-party rule, the trade unions called for a general strike on August 13, 1963.[4]

August 13[edit]

Protests began on August 12, consisting of workers and unemployed. The rallyists called for raised salaries, and for the release of detained labour activists. Soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing three trade unionists. The rallies turned into violent riots. Houses were sacked, and a follower of Youlou killed.[4]

Fall of Youlou[edit]

As of August 14, Youlou's government remained in place. Youlou contacted the French president, Charles de Gaulle, asking France to intervene militarily to save his government. Gaulle denied Youlou's request.[4] On August 15, the army withdrew their support to Youlou and sided with the trade unions and the Congolese Youth Union.[1]

New government[edit]

The uprising and the fall of Youlou brought two groups into power: the militaries and the trade unionists. However, neither group was represented in the provisional government formed on August 15, 1963 (with Alphonse Massemba-Débat as Prime Minister).[5] On August 16, the trade unionists formed a National Revolutionary Council (CNR).[6]

Legacy[edit]

The uprising was named after the July Revolution, and was also a reference to the Gaullist seizure of power in French Equatorial Africa July 26–28, 1940. The date of the victory of the revolution, August 15, was also the Independence Day of Congo as well as the Christian holiday of Ascension, a coincidence to which a mythical importance was attached.[6]

In 1970, a new national anthem, Les Trois Glorieuses, named after the 1963 revolution was adopted.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Le Vine, Victor T. Politics in Francophone Africa. Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004. p. 143
  2. ^ Bazenguissa-Ganga, Rémy. Les voies du politique au Congo: essai de sociologie historique. Paris: Karthala, 1997. pp. 65, 71
  3. ^ Bazenguissa-Ganga, Rémy. Les voies du politique au Congo: essai de sociologie historique. Paris: Karthala, 1997. p. 71
  4. ^ a b c Les voies du politique au Congo: essai de sociologie historique. Paris: Karthala, 1997. p. 72
  5. ^ Bazenguissa-Ganga, Rémy. Les voies du politique au Congo: essai de sociologie historique. Paris: Karthala, 1997. pp. 85–86
  6. ^ a b Bazenguissa-Ganga, Rémy. Les voies du politique au Congo: essai de sociologie historique. Paris: Karthala, 1997. pp. 90–91
  7. ^ Bazenguissa-Ganga, Rémy. Les voies du politique au Congo: essai de sociologie historique. Paris: Karthala, 1997. p. 161