(Recap: No tents or tarps or any form of shelter have been allowed since the first day, and are immediately confiscated by police. The food and kitchen equipment, as well as the medicines and first-aid supplies, have also been confiscated several times. There have been four full-scale police raids, with one occupier seriously injured on the first night, November 4, and police harassment is ongoing.)
Monday, 11/21 The occupation at La Défense is in its 18th day. My contact at the site, “Fab’,” will be away for awhile and I’m trying to get in touch with someone who can keep me updated. For now I’m watching the streaming videos – not easy because the video is choppy.
The camp is still there – giving the lie to media claims that the Parvis is deserted, with supposed photos to prove it. The kitchen is set up, surrounded by neat walls of boxes. But police are still harassing the occupiers. The cameraman says that gendarmes, who are military, are now on the site. He even mentions that cardboard and blankets are being confiscated. Another report I read says that the police inspector who was “too nice” has been replaced by a tougher one.
There’s also mention of a planned raid for Saturday – this supposedly comes from a trusted source. Yet plans are going ahead for a big concert and celebration of the end of the third week of occupation that night.
He interviews the person taking care of the infirmary, who says they need all the basics, even toothpaste, etc. Also large plastic shopping bags and/or old wheeled suitcases to store pharmacy items in to protect them from rain and also to make supplies eaiser to protect from police raids.
A young man calls for donations of padlocks and chains for “passive resistance” – to chain people to railings. The cameraman advises people to keep such items well hidden if they intend to try to bring them in.
The Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) on the Parvis is set to start on Wednesday, with the President and his wife and new baby daughter to appear for the opening festivities. Christmas markets are an old German and Alsation tradition that’s been on the upswing all over France in recent years. The one in Nantes served as the pretext for evicting the occupiers there. It’s hard to imagine that this one at La Défense, to occupy the entire Parvis with its 350 exhibits, Bavarian Tavern in a 3,000 sq. ft. tent set up at the foot of the Arche, Saint Nicks and Snowmen wandering around and having their pictures taken with children, and volunteers from charitable organizations wrapping gifts for shoppers at the exits of the various stores in the large shopping center that is part of La Défense could be considered compatible with the occupation – in particular since this President, a former Interior (police) Minister, never goes anywhere without a large cordon sanitaire around him and hundreds of police to guard him from unpleasant contact with an unsympathetic public… at least not since an incident early in his term in which a shipyard worker in St-Nazaire suggested, loudly and in front of the TV cameras, that he has a taste for passive contact with males… So there is every reason to fear that an eviction like the ones in New York City, Oakland, and other places might be forthcoming.
But there are reports of progress made in relations with certain media – Canal+ and Agence France Presse are mentioned -, and the public radio station France-Culture just today aired a 30-minute report on the Occupation. France-Culture has a history of opposition to Mr. Sarkozy and his close ties with billionaires and neo-liberal agenda.
A new video comes up as I write. The camerawoman (Eva) explains that there’s a good deal of rotation among the occupiers – people spend one or two nights and are replaced by others. It’s hard to sleep with the cold coming from the concrete pavement. Still the estimate is around 100 people preparing to spend the night. A large kettle of soup is being brought around.
The quality of the stream is better. The Madrid contingent at the camp is engaged in a battle with rotten tangerines. Olivier, an engineering student in Germany, explains that what aroused his indignation is the fact that he has been raised with certain values, including solidarity among people, but that often those values don’t coincide with the life he sees people living. This movement, he says, does coincide with those values, and that is what brought him to the camp.
Someone mentions that the President’s visit to the Marché de Noël is not on his official agenda for Wednesday as yet. Two CRS officers respond discreetly to the camerawoman’s greeting. She cautiously approaches another group of three CRS who appear to be in a relaxed mood. One refers to her as “the chick” (“la nana”) but corrects it to “the lady” (“la dame”) when she points out that the former term was okay in 1980, but is not considered politically correct today. A viewer on the chat suggests administering a free hug to one of the officers, but they politely refuse. A working group displays a title from the daily Libération: “La Parole à La Défense,” and quotes from the article: “If you think something small can’t change the course of history, you’ve never spent a night with a mosquito.”
Meanwhile there are reports of a soup kitchen for occupiers at the port in Vannes, and Nantes reports that the camp is doing well, with a yurt and several tents, after being moved to another location. The video ends with the people preparing to bed down for the night.
News of the Paris Occupation: http://99getsmart.com/?p=779
News of the Paris Occupation 11-9-11: http://99getsmart.com/?p=805
Update: News of the Paris Occupation: http://99getsmart.com/?p=873
Occupy La Défense, Paris: http://99getsmart.com/?p=791