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Toulouse anti-CPE POWAAAA

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.

Display:
Alex, any chance you can resize the pictures? They seem to be several hundred kb each. You're going to kill your server really quickly, and it's impossible to get them all to download.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 10:42:50 AM EST
I think there is no bandwith limit with Free personal servers, but I can indeed resize the larger ones.

Just to confirm, which part is hard to download, the thumbnails here in this diary, or the other ones (larger ones)?

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 10:49:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok I'm uploading smaller pictures now (100-200 ko instead of 800ko each).

I hope this is enough. It makes it a total of 6 megabytes to see them all, meaning that even with a lower end broadband internet connection, it should take no more than 1mn30 ... and less <1 second if you have a great connection like I do ;))

But I can reduce them even more, I suppose. Or maybe the thumbnails should have been different pics altogether ... yeah, I can edit my diary and do this if this current reduction is not good enough for now.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 11:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Done, I've now put thumbnails instead, taking advantage of the half-time pause in the rugby game.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 11:20:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alex - if you want to send any of your pictures to Le Monde, check this link: http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-734511,36-750464@51-751103,0.html

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 05:50:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good idea, I just sent (with the specs they suggested), the picture of the baby sitting in tons of paper, and the one with the finger flipped at "la France d'en haut").
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow!  What a great diary, Alex.  Thanks for posting the pictures and sharing your experience.

I have to say, I've never seen a mobile beer bar at a protest before.  What a great idea.  And it looks like the protest got a really good turnout.

What was the deal with the paper?  Where'd it come from?  Is that some kind of French protest tradition?

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 11:41:26 AM EST
Well the paper is supposed to be strung around tree branches but it always ends up being thrown around, or lying about in piles that get entangled in everyone's feet.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 12:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice pics alex, seems like you (and most people) had a good time...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 11:47:02 AM EST
Alex,

Yes, thanks for the pics. It's a good companion to what we're seeing on TV. Most of the pictures on the news are only from Paris, so it's interesting to see the demonstrations in other cities as well.

by gradinski chai on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 12:14:47 PM EST
Also, the media focuses on a few occasional fights here and there (by the very far left/right), with flashing titles like "VIOLENCE AT YOUTH DEMONSTRATIONS". But as you can see, it's not all about violence ... there are a lot of smiles, a lot of kids.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 01:10:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great photos, Alex. Looks like a good turnout.

You're right we've got hard, cold wind -- le vent d'autan which comes to us from the Mediterranean. I was out in it all afternoon gardening, (right, yes, because I didn't want to see France beat Wales in Cardiff... No, in fact because a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do when the weather permits).

Now I think I'll watch England/Ireland that has started.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 12:38:54 PM EST
Up to 50 000 people in Toulouse, apparently. Which means the movement is only getting stronger (was 30 000 last time). Which isn't so bad for a town this size.

I sensed that this time around a lot of older people were here, as the students must have been tired after their own demonstration on Thursday. Besides the weather sucked, so that would have discouraged a lot of people (ie. 2 friends who were supposed to go with me changed their mind when they saw droplets of rain and heavy clouds and wind).

Altogether 1 145 000 in the streets of France, according to AFP.

About the match, Wales was supposed to win, they were robbed of a well-deserved victory by the video referee.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 12:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot to mention that these are "according to the organisers" figures (the police says 33 000 for Toulouse). I'm biased.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 01:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I always take the geometric mean of the organizers and police estimates.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 01:46:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the police say 33,000, there were at least 40,000, which is a big demo for Toulouse.

The video ref didn't steal the last-minute Irish victory, though. That was good.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 03:23:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great.

And was there no photo with more of you visible than your legs or hands?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:24:13 PM EST
I'm still a little shy about posting a picture of myself on the world wide web. I'll have to come to the Paris and Toulouse meet-ups with heavy army boots to stamp on the cameras that anyone there will bring ;))
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:31:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was the one with the camera too. I suppose I could have asked Hugo, but I was already relieved to have found him to tag my bike along, which made it easier for me to take pictures.

It was difficult once he and I split to get any good pictures of people passing by. Sometimes people carry really great signs, or do whacky things, but one hand is on the bike, the other on the camera ... so I have to block the bike with my leg, power-up the camera, aime, and by then the shot to take is gone.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:34:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You, shy?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I only dared to ask because I thought you're shameless :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Awww not particularly shy in society, but the idea of a picture of me circulating on the internet is something I'm shy about.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:43:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All those dirty dirty diry very very old men thousands of miles away using my picture to ... paste on their dartboards, brrrrr it sends a shiver down my spine.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:44:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Izzy is the only person here who knows what I look like and I believe the words she used to descrbie me were "godly, mind-blowing, absolutely dazzling" or something along those lines ;)
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure?  I don't recall saying any of that.  Was I swooning at the time?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 09:57:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes, definitely. and I think your last words were "I'm going to faint so I may not remember what I just said to you, if that happens be good and remind me".
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 06:01:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, it seems Free (my new ISP) doesn't want people to use their private web space to host files (ie. you're supposed to use the space to host html pages which can then hold files).

So this diary may be unavailable for 24 hours (time it takes for them to put a site back up). I'll work on creating a similar page their in the meantime, and won't get caught shorthanded again.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 06:51:35 PM EST
The pictures are still visible to me as of now.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah it works again. But I just read on the Free FAQ that they don't like it when people only use their space to store, so I'll create a page with the same comments etc there, just to be sure. (apparently there is no bandwith limitation).
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:04:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok done, and it works fine (I just created a "manif.html" page there, so that they can see that I'm not just storing the pictures but linking to them from within my own website).

From now on, anytime I plan on using some space there, I will write a page for it.

And eventually I might just start turning it into a personal website too, who knows (for now it looks like, well, nothing at all).

by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I posted a diary on dKos on the protests (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/3/18/184634/237) and linked to yours.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 07:00:06 PM EST
I'm glad it went well, Alex!*  Great diary and I love the photos!!*

*exclamation points courtesy of afew.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 18th, 2006 at 09:59:26 PM EST
Just an after-thought on the demonstrations. They proved that Toulouse is a fantastic city when the town's center is void of motorised vehicles. That's simply the way it should always be. Main boulevards, narrower streets ... with only pedestrians or cyclists, and none of those smelly, dangerous, voluminous, noisy, global warming contributors => very cool.
by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 09:17:24 AM EST
Heh. I remember when the Tour de France came on my street two years ago. They cleared it of all traffic and of all parked cars the day before, and it was glorious. A much wider street, no noise, a much better view on the trees (strange, but true). It was great!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 09:21:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I fully agree, the silence (I wasn't always in the thick of the demonstration, at some point Hugo and I cut across to gain ground, finding ourselves in a quiet street), a better view of the things around, and the widening of the streets are the three first things that come to mind.

And it's not just that, but also the fact that you walk right in the middle of the street, and this really contributes to the feeling that the streets belong to you. It makes cities look so much more beautiful.

by Alex in Toulouse on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 09:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for that diary Alex!

It must have been fun. I kind of like doing that--going out on the streets to protest against something (or to celebrate something). It creates a feeling of togetherness, of powerfulness. It makes me feel part of a bigger community. That is always inspiring.

When I see people on the streets protecting their rights or just expressing something, it is so touching that I sometimes cry.

by Denny on Sun Mar 19th, 2006 at 12:48:17 PM EST


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