A first hand account of todays demonstrations from one of our contacts on the ground in Paris.
Photo by our correspondent.
Big, big demonstrations today, where 3 generations of people walked hand in hand together. You could see students dressed like CRS [riot police] with clown faces, noodle-strainers on their heads and shields in the form of hearts charging in the middle of the processions, and jumping in other students arms hugging them and then shouting "We don't want blows of bludgeon, we want kisses".
Treasures of imagination were developed everywhere in the crowd. And this crowd was 5 kilometers long. The starting point was "Denfert Rochereau", which is in the south of Paris; the arrival was at "Nation", in the east. When we arrived at Nation, we heard that people were still waiting at Denfert Rochereau to leave... The streets were black with people, it was amazing and thrilling.
The official numbers say we were 400,000 in Paris, but that's impossible, we must have been 500,000. Imagine a subway overcrowded on rush hour in the morning at 8:30, extended on 5/6 kilometers, with boulevards 20/30 meters wide...
Inevitably, riots took place at Nation. I think we are starting to get used to violence here (unfortunately): every single day, there are riots in the evening. By die hards, mostly.Tonight, it was pretty big and scary, or so i've heard...
The first couple of people who got arrested in France - especially in Paris - are having their trials these days. A minor (seventeen year old high school student) has been condemned to one month and a half of jail, if my memory doesn't fail me. Nice way to work his class notes before the Baccalauréat, right?