Saturday, April 01, 2006

France Demos : Chirac speaks and the people respond

Chirac had his say and the people had their riposte: "Chirac démission!"

After watching Chirac's speech on TV tonight and the following coverage, I knew that Jakes was going to go down like a lead ballon, so I headed up to the Place de la Victoire to check out what was happening.

Waiting for a bus at the station, I saw a group of CRS getting ready to deploy, so I knew that things were happening and that the riot boere were going to be working overtime tonight.

I got to the Place about 45 minutes after the speech and there was already a big crowd gathered, not just students but everyone. The reaction on the Place to Chirac's speech was that it was not what people wanted to hear.

A sponateous march through the city happened next. Led by the students but everyone was there. The youngest person I saw there w about 4 years old, the oldest over 70 and more than one person in a wheelchair. For an impromtu demonstration it was impressive. "Un manif de niut?" (a night demo?) as someone next to me said.

The biggest impression that I have though, was the rally cry: "Chirac démission!" (Chirac resign!) - of all the slogans and chants that was the strongest.

The march wove its way through the city in an uncoordinated way, and one had the sense that it was led by an impromtu student leadership, but the march made its point and was supported by people waving from windows. We made our way to the Mairie where we were confronted by the CRS. A thin blue line that had to rush in reinforcements.The march continued afterwards, but eventually I found myself back at the Place de la Victoire where there were still small groups of people gathered.

This is not Paris and you are not going to see it on TV but the anger on the streets of Bordeaux was palpable tonight.

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