by Alex in Toulouse
Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 10:56:49 AM EST
Ok, I'm back home. I got back in time for the rugby matches, and apparently Toulouse was the only town in France in which the demonstration started in the morning ... probably so that people could watch the matches!!
So anyhow, I just finished sorting the pictures I took. So here they are, with short comments.
From the diaries...by our street reporter at the demonstration!! ~ whataboutbob
Ok I'm all set to go, as you can see I've put on my "don't step on my feet" shoes, and my bandage is looking snazzy on this beautiful cloudy day.
The Canal du Midi is right where it should be, but where's the demonstration?
Ok, I know I'm going in the right direction, as my bicycle is already picking up debris.
As I reach the police cars at the tail of the demonstration, 3 youths are taunting a policeman in his car (saying: "hey hey, down with the CPE, right Mr policeman, right hehehehe aha right right?")
As people around watch these 3 kids ...
And here is the tail of the demonstration, I'm going in now ...
The signboard below says: "Yes to the MEE, the Trial Electoral Mandate"
As you can see, my no-nonsense shoes are now starting to be in the thick of it.
I bump into a friend of mine, Hugo, and that's good because he can now push my bike while I take pictures.
Hugo decides to decorate my bicycle ...
And passers-by start a paper fight with him ...
Kids seem to be enjoying all the littering paper too.
While the Men in Blue watch ...
The crowd starts to get thicker as we move up the line ...
The sign below reads: "For rent, 25 year old youths, qualified, expendable ..."
Ok now Hugo and I are in the thick of the crowd, which is mixed (musicians, students, prostitutes?).
Someone flashes a middle finger at "higher France" (reference to the expression invented by Raffarin, the ex-prime minister ... which was "lower France", or "la France d'en bas", basically us, the street)
It's a pity I screwed up this picture below, as the guy on the right has a sign on his back which reads "Poetry is in the Street".
I overtake the ambulatory beer bar, I lost track of Hugo (Hugo wanted me to leave my bike so that he could go in the middle of the crowd but there was NO way that I'd leave my bike).
Back on a larger boulevard, at some point the crowd is told to look up ...
And some guys have gone up a building and dropped a banner, which is unreadable from where we all stand, but we all cheer and scream all the same.
In fact no one will ever know what that banner said, it was a very windy day in Toulouse ... so the banner just stayed like that, tied up.
A loud group of high-school students pass by with speakers and music ... and the following slogan, repeated by the entire crowd:
"Villepiiiiiin, si tu savaaaaaais, ton CPE où tu t'le meeeeets" ("Villepin (prime minister) if only you knew, where you can stick your CPE into").
Ok I've reached the front of the demonstration now, so decide to take a break and let people pass me by.
The loud guys are back.
And it's over ... people all aggregate near the Place Arnaud Bernard. I spend a good twenty minutes trying to make my bicycle work (so much paper tied into the wheels that I can't pedal)
Just before going back home, I realize that someone stuck something on my arm during the demonstration. I hadn't noticed it. It's a call to liberate members of Action Directe (a leftist terrorist group of the late 70s and 80s). I don't think I would have left it there if I had noticed it earlier.