Shock result of French presidential election

Robert Harley
Tue, 23 Apr 2002 01:39:42 +0200 (CEST)

>I'd actually expect abstention to be even lower, given that the early
>response to Le Pen getting even as far as he did seems to be
>widespread protests.

Yeah.  I was just in a protest about two hours ago.  A couple of
thousand people converged on Place de la Bastille, most of them coming
from the South-East, chanting anti-fascist slogans and waving banners.
Then the cops closed off most of the exit streets to force people to
stay there or go back.  I mean they put up physical barricades of mesh
wire in frames, with lines of police in riot gear too.  On the radio
just now they reported that the protest "turned violent" when people
started throwing stuff at the cops.  It seemed awful peaceful and
good-natured to me, right in the thick of it.  In a period of an hour
or so with thousands of people, I saw about half a dozen empty cans
thrown in random directions, including at the police with plastic
shields, and one bottle thrown at a taxi.  Anyhow, that was pretext
enough for the cops to fire tear gas at us.  Fucking nasty stuff.  My
eyes are still smarting.  Then, for no apparent reason, the CRS
charged the crowd to clear the whole place.  Sprinting as fast as you
can with a crowd of thousands in a cloud of tear gas with riot police
running after you is... umm... interesting!!!