Thursday, January 29th, was a day of strikes and demonstrations in France. My blog is perhaps not a political forum – although there is no censorship from my side – but I thought I should show you something of the present - like I have already done a few times - and not only the historical and monumental Paris.

It’s obvious that people are worried. Our government - as others - have taken a number of measures to get us out of the present financial, economic and social crisis, but these measures are in many people’s opinion, including the demonstrators, today too much going in favour of banking and some leading industries, not immediately supporting "ordinary" people who already suffer - or probably soon will.

The manifestations which took place in France yesterday were probably among the biggest since long. As always, there is a great difference in the estimations given by the – this time unified -syndicates and the official ones given by the Police about the number of demonstrators. Figures for the Paris demonstration vary between 65.000 (Police) and 300.000 (syndicates). Anyhow, the number was high; maybe about two million if you include all the French cities.

In Paris, the march took place between Place de la Bastille (see previous posts), via Place de la République (see previous posts), following the “Grands Boulevards” (see previous posts) to near to Opéra Garnier (see previous post). I watched it at Place de la République.

At least my French blogger friends may recognise the leader of one of the largest syndicates (with his particular 60’s haircut), who I saw in the middle of the marchers. I believe that the other syndicate and political leaders had already left the demonstration for their offices, homes, television studios...

I wish you all a nice weekend!


Cezar and Léia said...

Dear Peter
Today I saw several news in major newspapers in Brazil highlights like:"general strike against policies of Sarkozy." More news: The strike has paralyzed much of the French trains - 40% of high-speed and 70% of regional -, forced the cancellation of many flights and harm traffic in major cities.

I hope things are better this Friday.
Take care okay!
Your friend Léia :-)

Michelle said...

Sound like a lot of people are not happy about what is going on there. I can relate, politics here are a nightmare. I can't hardly watch TV. It's pretty amazing the amount of people protesting in your photos. Great shots.

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Wonderful images, Peter...
with the economy so very bad,
no one is happy these days.

Thérèse said...

Frustation, dissatisfaction,restrictions, reduction in the number of workers... are words which seem to take over these days.
Peter you seem to have a gift for journalism...

Marie-Noyale said...

Entre toi,Nathalie et Bergson ,
il n'est plus besoin de regarder "les News" a la television !!
Tu t'etais mis sur des echasses??!!
Beau reportage en tous cas.
Je te souhaite un bon week end a toi aussi.

Karen said...

I guess many people feel helpless because of all the problems. This is one way to express their feelings and as long as there is no violence it may not be so bad.

I'm surprised it hasn't happened here in the US.

Olivier said...

toujours autant d'imagination dans les slogans ;o). Personnellement cela n'a jamais aussi bien rouler, alors je dis ENCORE ;o)

Adam said...

Demonstrations always make for great photos.

I didn't notice much yesterday, despite the manif ending right next to where I work. The RATP Metro workers were almost all working, showing that they at least must be very happy with their pay and working conditions!

claude said...

Ha ! ça ira ! ça ira ! ça ira
Les Aristocrates à la lanterne !
Ha ! ça ira ! ça ira ! ça ira !
Les Aristocrates, on les pendra !
Tout cela a un avant goût de révolution. Elle est peut-être nécessaire mais cela fait peur !

EMNM said...

Here, in Spain we are very worried, dissatisfaction, the unemployed list grow up day by day but... no strike, no protest we are sleeping or dead, maybe dead.


Ruth said...

I actually wish we would do this in the U.S., it's time for us to be more involved too, and express our frustrations. I did it in one long protest march on a cold day in February 2003 before our President attacked Iraq. Sadly, it didn't stop him.

I saw images of this on my computer screen yesterday too. Incredible.

And who is the syndicate leader?

Anonymous said...

Il y a du monde sur tes photos. T'as fait comment pour mettre autant de monde sur ton petit écran? :-)
Pendant que vous manifestez, les grands de ce monde sont à Davos, au forum économique mondial. On a déroulé le tapis rouge pour Poutine, et pour tous les autres. C'est parfois écoeurant de voir comment on traite les grands et comment les petits pédalent dans la semoule. Mais c'est ainsi.
Dis, le mec sur ta photo en chapeau haut de forme et cigare, il fait partie de la haute aristocratie française? qu'est-ce qu'il fait là?

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Hi Peter ,
I knowthat your blog is NOT political but this are great photo's ( No matter the facts) Its you eye what is making this group of people like ART, welldone (I do not like to react on the demonstration itself either)

Familyhealth-matters are still not well, thanks for your understanding, taht I do not visit that often .

Happy weekend

Greetings JoAnn Holland

hpy said...

No comment ;-)

HZDP said...

Oh yes, I've heard about the strike on many news sites,hmmm, I don't care about politics so much..hehe
Have a nice weekend also, Peter.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate it very much and I find it very interesting to see something of daily life in Paris, too. You are going to be a reporter soon, Peter.

Anonymous said...

As you say Peter, you and I have the same theme for our posts today but then how to ignore such a huge event. The newspaper "La Provence" estimated at 12,000 the number of people who marched in the street yesterday in Avignon - quite impressive considering it's a small town.

Cergie said...

En 2039 on se dira : "tiens ! Y avait du brouillard ce jour là et même du soleil en fin de matinée..."
(Je passe fissa ; je suis à la bourre, y a qu'à dire que je suis un alpha-jet au dessus des Champs. Quoi ? C'est pas le défilé du 14juillet ?)

marie6 said...

At least people are showing their displeasure. Nothing ever is done here in Malta and when someone does something (protest/demonstration) noone bothers!!!

Anonymous said...

The French tradition of making the voice heard is well know, and I think unique in the world. As maybe misrepresented by the recent famous Czech artwork to celebrate their EU presidency, the idea that the French are always "on strike" misses the point unless I'm mistaken. Civil protest it is. In this instance though, I think it is maybe a little unusual because of the international aspect of the protest, and of the reasons behind it. I'm sure that the French administration cannot be singled out amongst all the others in the world in their attempts to cope. So this protest is against the world order, rather than being internal.

Thanks for the perspective Peter

Maxime said...

Démonstration, c'est le bon terme, même en français !

sonia a. mascaro said...

Hi Peter,
You did here a great photo reportage!

Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

Comment ça se fait que tu n'es pas parmi les manifestants?

Anonymous said...

Great photographs you've got there! I was with the university contingent (included Paris VII, Paris IV, Paris III, Paris VIII, Dauphine, EHESS, and some others) but we were stuck at Bastille for 3.5 hours-- apparently there were SO many people ahead of us clogging the blvd between bastille and republique that no one could march anywhere!! I bailed around 7 pm and by that point we had only made it a little bit past the metro Chemin Vert.

Kate said...

People the world over are worried about the economy, and it is my fervent wish that our fears will be in vain. We shall see! I am always impressed at the large numbers of people who support strikes in Paris. I don't pretend to understand all the issue, but I seriously doubt that there is much support for unions in the US anymore. PS. I am on my way to Paradise today, and will be resurrecting my Mazatlán blog. Come visit soon!!

Unknown said...

''... but these measures are in many people’s opinion, today too much going in favour of banking and some leading industries, not immediately supporting "ordinary" people who already suffer''

Peter, this is exactly what is happening here too!
Great coverage of the demonstration!

Claudia said...

Signs of the times... Things are going from bad to worse and people are right to protest.

Well done France!

Similar - thought not as mediatic - demonstrations are popping up all over Europe, with special relevance to Iceland, Spain - where the extremist left is on a steep rise - Germany, the UK, and - of course - Portugal.

Shionge said...

I read about the demonstrations and you know what, my girlfriend is flying out on Tuesday to Paris for five days before moving to other European countries, I hope it would be safer for her to travel within Paris.

Her first trip to Paris :D

krystyna said...

Hi Peter!
Your blog is not political but this moment is historical moment. This big crisis affected almost whole world. Thanks for great photos. They show part of this historical crisis and we see France in action and reaction.

Have a relaxing and happy weekend!

PeterParis said...

Finally, in Paris most hiongs worked rather well and the town was rather empty (except around the demonstration). I believe many people stayed at home.

It's difficult right now to feel happy, when it comes to work, money...! Hopefully there are other things to give some comfort! :-)

Yes, it seems to world wise!

PeterParis said...

That was a long list, unfortunately correct!

Oui, il sembme que nous sommes assez nombresux avec les mêmes nouvelles! Bon week-end à toi aussi!

From what I saw, the demonstration was quite peaceful and smiling!

PeterParis said...

As you say, the city was surprsingly calm, little traffic...!

Tu crois à une autre révolution? Plus de quillotine quand' même?

It seems that the situation is worse in some countries than in France, including Spain! :-(

PeterParis said...

The syndicate leader of CGT is Bernard Thibault. Sorry GWB didn't listen to you! Maybe you must give Obama a few weeks before possibly start marching?

.. et le contre-manifestants sont à Genève. Tu n'es pas avec eux?
Le monsieurétait un banquier de la CGT! :-)

I hope you have a nice week-end after all!

PeterParis said...

No comment! :-)

... althoug things are getting a bit more difficult also in China! But now you are just celebrating you new year! :-)

Un tout petit reporter! :-)

PeterParis said...

Yes, obviously the marchers were many, although the figures vary, depending on source! :-)

Tu penses qu'on s'occupera du brouillard de 2009 en 2039?
Je n'ai pas entendu l'alpha-jet! Bon week-end! :-)

So the island is always calm! :-)

PeterParis said...

Of course it's a world-wide issue, but the local solutions can of course be discussed. Yes, I saw the illustration with STRIKE to illustrate France! I would have preferred to see a bottle of champagne! :-)

Démonstration, en effet! :-)

Thanks and he same to you!

PeterParis said...

Comment ça se fait que tu ne donnes pas ton nom? :-)

Welcome here! I saw on your blog that you participated! I was at Place de la République and there was a difficult passage also; vry little space for the marchers to pass!

Lucky you. Hope you can forget the crisis while in Mexico!

Yes, I'm afraid the situation is more or less the same all over!

PeterParis said...

Maybe we will all march next time! :-)

I don't think there will be any problem for your girlfriend. Paris is quite calm ... and all transports work for the moment! I hope she has a nice stay!

Good analysis! I wish you also a nice weekend!

Virginia said...

Well you know it's the same here. I wonder when the people in the US will get their fill and do the same thing as the French have. It's amazing that we are all so angry but seemingly willing to sit back and watch it happen over and over. Great photos. You did a grand job getting in the thick of things and covering the action for us!

PeterParis said...

Somehow you can understand why you often prefer to sit back; it must be frustrating to demonstrate and obtain what? Anyhow, it's good to live i countries where you allowed to express yourself!

Anonymous said...

Very colorful images and the people and what they are wearing and how their hair is cut is interesting to me.

I no longer do demonstrations.

I somehow but I wrote in my Memories blog about the roads of my youth and how they were to travel in the winter time.

Azer Mantessa said...

"It’s obvious that people are worried. Our government - as others - have taken a number of measures to get us out of the present financial, economic and social crisis, but these measures are in many people’s opinion, including the demonstrators, today too much going in favour of banking and some leading industries, not immediately supporting "ordinary" people who already suffer - or probably soon will."

are you serious??? same thing is happening here BUT errmmm unlike those in Paris ... we have no ermmmm ... balls ... yikes

RM 7 billion bail-out to the financial industry out of Employment Provident Fund! and i heard more are coming ... geezzzz

Anonymous said...

Oh its that season again. Saw a notice last week for a planned manifestion to bring back the franc.

Rob said...

Our new government wants to give out so much of our money to many institutions. won't help us get jobs and will further put us in debt.

PeterParis said...

Not so many opportunities to make demonstrations in Brookville? :-)

Of course I'm serious! :-)

The "bring back the franc" campaign was new to me! :-)

PeterParis said...

Dusty Lens:
I guess we have this kind of debate in a lot of countries!

Catherine said...

Trés vivant reportage, au coeur du débat. Il ne manque que le son !
Grace à tes photos, j'ai une idée du mouvement.
Pendant ce temps, je ralais aussi, mais parce que les transports étaient réduits.
Quand inventerons nous une grève qui gène le gouvernement et non pas les usagers ?

PeterParis said...

Une très bonne question!!

Jane Hards Photography said...

What I like about France is that people are still motivated to speak out. Your comment about the 60's haircut made me laugh.

PeterParis said...

Yes, not problem for speaking out here!