It was a fine spring day and the demo again gathered at the Place Tourny, with the cortege
stretching along the Allees de Tourny back to the Grand Theatre. Before the start of the march the mood was festive and more militant in the aftermath of Chirac’s speech on Friday night.
The demo was once again led by the students, who have become more organized and dedicated, more colourful and louder. Many had arrived in costume and the sans-culotte theme is very trendy among the French youth this season.
Behind, came the Unions and political parties, the unemployed and the people who are in general sympathy with the students. One gets the impression that this is an issue that crosses political affiliations – there were parents with young children in the cortege and they are concerned about their children’s future.
The demo proceeded up to Place Gambetta and along Cours d’Albret to the Place de la Victoire – but this time it didn’t stop there as the Place de la Victoire isn’t big enough to cope with the sheer number of people who turned out today. The Victoire was really just the half-way point as the demo made its way along the Quais to the Esplanade des Quinconces, which is one of the biggest public squares in Europe. The crowd was always well controlled and the police kept a low profile, the atmosphere was one in which people were united against a law that they see as wrong and a government that has been ruling by decree. There overall ambiance was an air of jubilance rather antagonism.
The square was the end point of the demo and many people gathered in a festive mood; groups of students playing djmebe drums to Unionists once again setting fire to an effigy of Villepin. His popularity is at an all time low and today’s turn out was larger than last week. The call in the street today was for him to resign.
More of my photos at libcom.org