31 March 2006
A CNN anchor compared Paris to Tiananmen Square (and then another CNN journalist called the statement "regrettable").
In any case, the protests continue, I just saw a bunch of students march through Place d'Italie with their horns and signs. But they're gone now, and the intesection is back to normal. I'm still getting emails from people freaking out about their safety in coming to Paris.
How many times does one have to say: stay away from the marches and you won't have any problems!
Even on Tuesday's "Big Strike", all of the public transport was working at 75% of it's regular service, and unless you were on the march rout between Place d'Italie and Place République, you wouldn't even know anything is going on in Paris. Really.
I was listening to NPR (Diane Reams show, sorry if that's misspelled) and Diane was interviewing some French pundits and American journalists covering the protests and she asked, "But how do you know where the riots will be?"
As the guests replied, it helps to know a bit of French. All demonstrations are announced in advance, along with their routes, so everyone in Paris knows exactly what parts of town will have traffic problems. The protests are separate from the "riots", or the window-breaking/car-burning idiots from the suburbs who come into town anytime there are big gatherings in order to cause trouble. They're called "casseurs", or smashers. This is who thepolice are fighting with, and in many cases they're actally helped by the marchers themselves, who are the ones who are getting hurt from their clashes (again, the damage is happening under the "cover" of the large crowds during the marches; there aren't "rioters" roaming loose around Paris torching random cars). Many of these thugs have already been arrested and fined, in some cases sent to prison for a year (the idiot who set a car on fire that accidentally set a Gap on fire).
There's another strike andmarch planned Tuesday the 4th, FYI.
And here are some photos of Place d'Italie from last Tuesday.
28 March 2006
When I walked the dogs this morning at 10am, the Place d'Italie was already full of news vans, big banners against the CPE, and even a snack truck in preparation for today's march that starts here (and ends at République) at 230pm.
I have a tour today, and have no idea if the people will show up (although 75% of the public transport is still running in Paris). Mostly I'm glad I won't be here at home working because it's IMPOSSIBLE to work when they're out there blasting their music and chanting for three hours.
They're basically keeping me from working. As if the entire world is made of of evil bosses and slaving workers. Some of us work for ourselves and would like to get that work done, thank you!!!
So since I can't vote in national elections (being a foreigner), I'm going to join the ANTI-BLOCAGES (anti strike) march on April 2 at 3pm, Hôtel de Ville.
There is a growing movement against the people who are taking advantage of the strikes to cause trouble (the idiots burning car, for example). I'm all for political activism, but violence and refusing to even talk (the unions won't talk to De Villepin) is wrong.
Look here and here (sign the petition).
27 March 2006
On Tuesday March 28 there's a semi-general strike scheduled by the people opposed to the new student labor laws. Expect 50% service on Metro and RER lines. For more info call the free (really!) RATP hotline: 0800 15 11 11
The RATP would like everyone to know:
La direction de l’entreprise précise que la RATP n’entre pas dans le champ d’application de la loi qui met en place les CPE et qu’elle poursuit par ailleurs une politique dynamique de recrutement, de qualification et d’insertion de 2000 jeunes par an.
It basically says that the RATP isn't affected by the new laws, and actively recruits more than 2000 young workers each year. So why are they participating in the strike? Well, the weather sure is nicer now...good day for a walk/protest march.