It has not escaped anyone’s attention that the editorial of your favorite Cannabic paper had fluorescent yellow tendencies in recent weeks. This morning we just got back on tracks following our publications pace, but during the whole weekend we have done what we promised we would do, that is to say join the popular resistance of this country in the streets.
We were not alone. Besides, a British friend has done the same in Paris, and he brought back some amazing pictures. Let’s enjoy some off topic on Le Cannabiste, we’re very proud to share with you these very exclusive photos.
The story of a British Gilet Jaune in Paris
The neighbours were throwing a big party to celebrate the upcoming demise of Macron so I went over on Saturday to show support and take some photos. Very much a last minute decision so couldn’t spend too long there.
The rumours I’d heard were that the Élysée Palace (Macron’s residence in Paris) was the main target for the protesters so my intention was to go from the station to Place de la Bastille (a key meeting point) then on to the palace. The key Metro stations were all closed so I went on foot from Gare Du Nord station.
Place de la Bastille was quiet and peaceful, more police than protesters so I moved on up Rue Saint-Antoine towards the palace. No protesters at the Louvre just lots of tourists and mounted police:
« CRS » police are separate to the Gendarmerie, more like British police (i.e. unarmed) whereas the Gendarmes are more militarised. They policed the outskirts of the main event. Got bag searched for the first time near the traffic lights here:
This was the entrance to Place de la Concorde, a key entry point if you want to get near the palace, completely sealed off as was every other possible access point. The police had heard the same rumours that I had.
This meant I had to head north towards Église de la Madeleine, lots of graffiti along the way:
This is Rue Royale, another entrance to Place de la Concorde:
Another road that would be an entry point to the palace:
It appeared that they could just park these trucks in the road and the barrier would deploy where needed, pretty cool idea.
It was clear that everyone was heading towards the Champs-Élysées so I followed the crowd through the back streets stopping for an « Ice cold in Alex » moment at a small bar, hadn’t eaten much for 24 hours due to nerves/adrenaline (lots of ULTRA VIOLENCE EXPECTED headlines) and was incredibly thirsty too. That beer was amazing but couldn’t finish it.
This was shortly after arriving on the Champs-Élysées:
It’s difficult to describe these first few minutes. The atmosphere completely changed from a casual walk to entering a war zone. Massive explosions were going off in the distance, hard to tell where from exactly and people were singing:
Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!
It was eye moistening, firstly from the raw emotion and then from the clouds of tear gas that drifted down the avenue. A peak life experience. The camaraderie and patriotism was obvious even to an outside observer, something born from the Revolution and hard wired into the French national DNA. Maybe the fact that at this point a Brit wished he was French will give you a clue about how it felt to be there.
The police had sealed off all of the side streets and were keeping people away from them with volleys of tear gas and the occasional flashbang. There seemed to be larger explosions going off further away but maybe that was just the acoustics of the area.
Some more pics from Saturday, here’s a random bunch from the Champs-Élysées:
You know it’s been a fun day out when you’re saving one of your photos as « teargas_5.jpg »
The main skirmishing was near Rue de Presbourg (the last side street before the Arc de Triomphe) between these guys who had ripped the boards off of the shopfronts:
And these guys who didn’t like people who rip boards off of shop fronts:
The guys with the boards would move forward towards the police using the boards as a shield and then be knocked back with flashbangs and tear gas. Sometimes the police would charge them and they would run back and then reset.
This went on for a while until a crowd (including me) had gathered to watch. The police decided they didn’t trust us either and fired tear gas at us, we all ducked and ran in the opposite direction. This was across the Champs-Élysées straight towards another police road block. Those police didn’t like the idea of a crowd running at them and launched flash bangs. One went off right above me, if you’ve never had one go off close to you they tend to make you search for cover asap, I saw a low wall nearby and dived behind it with a bunch of other people. One guy was hit in the neck by something, probably a tear gas grenade:
A bit more blurred than the rest but adrenaline will do that. The police continued their barrage. His friend stuck his head over the wall and yelled « STOP! » in English, eventually they did.
Another guy further down had been hit earlier, his head was bandaged and he looked out of it. Was told not to take photos of him. At this point I decided that this area was getting a bit too lively and upheld a great French tradition by retreating.
— Jean-pierre Ceccaldi pour The Blinc Group – Le Cannabiste 2018 Tous droits réservés –