A new riot was expected on the Champs Elysées today due to the protest movement that has been in progress for three weeks. All access to the area was sealed off beginning at 6 a.m. The authorities decided that the avenue will be closed today but that pedestrians would be allowed after being searched, and about half of the businesses said they wanted to open today if possible. Considering the time of year, they are losing tons of money. Anyway, I decided to check out the area at dawn. There is no way that I wanted to be there once the demonstrators arrived. I was actually present during a riot (against Franco) during the 1970's, and it is a miracle that I got out of there unscathed. The riot police began running toward the crowd, and I was in the middle. I jumped into a phone booth and they ran past me. These days, there are no phone booths.
There have been so many violent demonstrations in the past, that the shops and banks know what to do now. After being searched, I strolled down the street.
Maybe they could twin Paris with Buenos Aires, hosting the G20 summit this weekend?
I was listening to the radio while I was making lunch -- not many yellow vests on the Champs Elysées this morning but allegedly 1500 casseurs, out to fight the police and destroy what they can. Most of the blockades around France are peaceful, but Paris is getting the most radical ones. This is ironic since it started out as a protest against the cost of diesel gasoline and so many Parisians don't even have cars.
The radicals don’t care what the cause is, they just want a cause to latch on to and get in some profitable looting and oppose society by criminality. No way to right wrongs, however they may be percieved.
Interesting to see how the graffiti boys soon get stuck in.
Stay out of trouble Kerouac
Man is not lost, only temporarily uncertain of his position
Adding a few minutes later that I had a quick look at the news and fires are burning in the Tuileries Gardens near the Louvre. According to the reporter who talked to protestors to ask their opinion, they claim that it's just a sign of how angry people are.
This is fascinating and infuriating. Like most of us on anyport, I've been following the news stories about this situation from afar, but your report shows up close what is going on. What is infuriating is the destruction of public transportation shelters and the burning & looting. That only hurts the innocent population with no powers to address the grievances of the rioting thugs.
The counter-measures to thwart the rioters must cost a fortune in material and man power. I wonder how much protection those chipboard panels provide, though.
I agree, Lagatta. But of course, when the police and government accuse the far right and far left of joining in to cause trouble, it just sounds as though they can't cope.
Melenchon (far left) said he would be there on Saturday. With his pension as a former senator and current salary as a member of parliament, he is hardly touched by rising prices. And the wealthy Marine le Pen also supports the demonstrations and encourages them.
For years now, many demonstrations have been disturbed by casseurs who are just out to cause trouble and "casser du flic" (fight the police), but this seems like another level of violence.
Just a trasher with an iPhone. As he gleefully comments what he is seeing, when he enters one of the rooms where at least one person isn't masked, he shouts 'hide your face' -- but it is too late. At least that person will be identified...
Well, I went to see the area this morning. As I already said, the Champs Elysées survived the ordeal with flying colours. It was extremely well protected. But of course that sent the demonstrators and assorted trashers into a rage, so they took it out on the surrounding streets.
This brasserie on avenue de la Grande Armée will take some time to recover.
Really sad and really disgusting. The "Paris est à nous" graffiti is ironic, considering that the swath of destruction means Paris is for nobody until it can be cleaned up by workers whose salaries are paid by the taxes generated by all those businesses which can't make any money right now.
Yes, there are token slogans painted here and there, but this doesn't even look like political protest -- more like a bunch of overgrown brats tearing up things for fun.
Looks like you were out recording the damage before the sun was up. I'm assuming all the rats had run back to their holes by that time.
Very distressing to see all this mindless destruction. However, why did it happen? Society is becoming more and more “Them and us”. Take the metro from the station Champs Elysees on line 13 and go to St Denis and you are ina different world. When people see these ostentatious displays of wealth, when they feel completelt disadvantaged and with no way up. Then they react like this. Revolutions can start this way.
Man is not lost, only temporarily uncertain of his position
One of the scenes on the news today showed a man trying to stop the trashers from smashing the window of a hairdresser. "Don't do that! People work there! I work there!" The reply he got was "You work in Paris. I work in Perpignan. Try and do my job there." In other words, for that person at least, the battle was about the "easy" life in Paris versus low salaries and hardships in the provinces. It just goes to show the vast incomprehension between the capital and showplace of the world and most of the rest of France. Paris is glorious, we are all rich and life is easy.
Obviously, it can look that way to certain people. Reality is a bit different. Nevertheless, the areas attacked were mostly in the 8th and 16th arrondissements which are among the wealthiest areas in the city. It's horrible to say, but not just the poor suburbs of Paris but also areas in Paris which are far from rich probably eked a certain satisfaction from seeing the rich "punished."