Shock result of French presidential election

chris arkenberg
Mon, 22 Apr 2002 16:56:04 -0700

Yikes. Sounds like the protest turned violent when the riot police showed up.

In my experience, peaceful protests usually remain peaceful unless 
acted upon by an opposing force (maybe there's some sort of Newtonian 
principle here...). As soon as the riot cops show up the mood in the 
air becomes much more charged with the potential for conflict. More 
often than not someone - cop or protester - will snap and the whole 
thing just explodes. Of course the press usually has a way of blaming 
it on the protesters...

At 1:39 AM +0200 4/23/02, Robert Harley wrote:
>  >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!!!