- BayBak, Voice of a Nation - http://www.en.baybak.com -
French â€˜Occupyâ€™ movement gets off to a slow start
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 589 days ago | Monday, 7th November , 2011 , 19:45 [pm] | International
|.|| Inspired by Spainâ€™s â€œIndignadosâ€ and New Yorkâ€™s â€œOccupyâ€ movements, angry French protesters have set up camp in La DÃ©fense business district west of Paris. But on the second day of the demonstration, less than half of the already few campers remain.
Like their Spanish, American and British counterparts, the â€œoccupiersâ€ of Parisâ€™ key business district are protesting against the â€œcurrent global financial systemâ€: the uneven
Inspired by Spainâ€™s â€œIndignadosâ€ and New Yorkâ€™s â€œOccupyâ€ movements, angry French protesters have set up camp in La DÃ©fense business district west of Paris. But on the second day of the demonstration, less than half of the already few campers remain.
Like their Spanish, American and British counterparts, the â€œoccupiersâ€ of Parisâ€™ key business district are protesting against the â€œcurrent global financial systemâ€: the uneven distribution of wealth; globalisation, bank bailouts and austerity measures. Heeding the call of an online campaign, at least 500 young demonstrators pitched their tents on Friday afternoon on the massive esplanade amid towering skyscrapers of multinational firms and banks.
â€œThe goal is to set up camp and stay as long as possible,â€ the organisers state on the website for â€œOccupons la DÃ©fenseâ€. But despite an unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon, the event failed to attract the impressive numbers its cross-Atlantic and neighbouring counterparts boasted from day one. â€œI was expecting more people,â€ said Julie, a 20-year-old participant, looking around the huddle of 20 coloured tents on the vast esplanade. â€œTo make anything happen there needs to be a lot more of us.â€ Despite the disappointment, Julie wasnâ€™t planning on giving up easily. Neither was Ã‰tienne, a 28-year-old student waiting to unfurl his tent. â€œIâ€™m in it for the long term,â€ he said, waving his toothbrush and newspapers. â€œItâ€™s not going to be easy, I know.â€
Risking arrest for “a good cause”
Some ten riot police vans stood lined-up next to the protest, but the participants seemed unfazed. â€œWeâ€™re not stupid,â€ one of them told us. â€œWe know that if we stay, weâ€™ll get arrested. But sometimes you have to take risks for a good cause.â€
At 6.30pm, the police made a first attempt to remove some of the tents, sparking a round of booing. â€œDonâ€™t give up!â€ shouted determined campers. â€œThey wonâ€™t do anything while the cameras are still here!â€ But 15 minutes later, the police made another push into the crowds, which in turn, piled into tents. â€œItâ€™s harder to get rid of a tent if there are four people in it than if itâ€™s empty,â€ explained one dogged camper, as the police shouted at him not to resist.
“France is not Spain”
Not everybody was as resolute. A growing number of protesters took to the outskirts of the camp for a more traditional, megaphone-enabled demonstration. By 9pm, half of the tents had disappeared. But the organisers were adamant that it wasnâ€™t a failure and many braved through a cold rainy night.
â€œFrance isnâ€™t Spain, where unemployment is rife, or Greece,â€ said Gaby, a 22-year-old student who hopes to become a farmer. â€œThe movement is having trouble taking off because the situation in France is not that bad, but it will get bigger soon,â€ added Gaby. Julie agreed. â€œOne day the French public is going to wake up, theyâ€™re going to wake up to the fact that weâ€™re the 99% [of people who hold only 1% of wealth]. Theyâ€™ll realise that we canâ€™t allow just 1% to decide on our future and our spending.â€france24, Voice of a Nation