The 21st Cannes Film Festival opened as scheduled on May 10, 1968. That same evening, Paris police attacked an estimated 20,000 Sorbonne students, who had rallied against the policies (including education) of the conservative government under Charles de Gaulle. Hundreds of cops and students were hospitalized. Two days later, 2 million French workers declared a general strike in sympathy to the students and shut down federal and municipal services. The one-day strike was extended as millions more walked out of factories and offices.
The festival was to run May 10-24, with competition films including works by Alain Resnais,