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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

Les manifestations et la police à Paris (Demonstrations and Parisian police)

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

Statue of Marianne, French incarnation of freedom, at place de la République

Depuis que je suis arrivée à Paris, il y était beaucoup de manifestations. Les manifestations sont un institution française. J’habite pas de loin de la place de la République, où il y a beaucoup des manifestations. Presque tous les weekends, il y a une manifestation d’une sorte ou une autre. Et quand il y a une manifestation, il y a beaucoup, beaucoup de police portant des tenues anti-émeute et les mitraillettes. Pour les manifestations, la police voyage dans les vans blancs et je ne vois jamais moins que 10 vans, voyagent ensemble. Pour moi , la présence de la police à Paris est extraordinaire.

Since my arrival in Paris, I’ve witnessed many demonstrations, which are a French institution. I live close to place de la République, the heart of Paris social protest and therefore site of many demonstrations. Frequently, the protesters gather at République but then march to other parts of the city and often they march down rue Beaubourg, which is about 20 meters from where I live. Almost every weekend, there’s a demonstration of one sort or another. And when there are, the police presence is huge. Always the police are wearing full riot gear and carrying submachine guns. They travel in white vans and I’ve never seen fewer than 10 vans traveling one after another. I’ve been struck by the extraordinary police presence in Paris and not just for demonstrations.

My first manifestation at République.....

Dimanche dernier, quand je rentrais chez moi de la salle du sport, j’ai entendu des cris forts et la musique. Je marchais à la rue Beaubourg. Puis j’ai vu 12 vans blancs de la police, peut-être 30 policiers dans la rue devant les manifestants. C’était une manifestation des Kurdes de la Syrie, protestent une attaque récente à l’Efrin, une région Kurde à la Syrie. Il y était aussi beaucoup de police des deux cotés des manifestants et à l’extrémité, il y était un autre 30 ou 40 policiers, suivie par 12 vans blancs.

Last Sunday, as I was walking up rue Beaubourg on my way home from the gym, I heard loud shouts and music. It was a demonstration. I saw about 12 white police vans and perhaps 30 police officers in the street in front of the demonstrators….all dressed in riot gear and carrying submachine guns. Syrian Kurds were protesting a recent attack on Efrin, a Kurdish region in Syria.

Police in full riot gear including shields for some....

Whole families were among the demonstrators

Dozens of civilian monitors in fluorescent vests were also present

Additional police officers patrolled on either side of the marchers and, at the end, there were another 30-40 officers followed by another dozen or so white vans. All this for one relatively small demonstration and just one example, IMHO, of the extraordinary commitment to the right to protest here in France and, at the same time, to keeping Paris and its citizens safe from harm.

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