The boys in black are back

I spoke too soon when I said that the city had calmed down following the burning of the Town Hall gates. For one thing, on Wednesday one of the Unions cut off the power to a large sector of the city, including the main railway station. It was off for perhaps up to an hour. We were out so were not directly affected. They threaten to do it again, too.

Then yesterday was the 11th day of demonstrations against the Pensions Reform Law. In Bordeaux there were about 60 000 marchers according to the Unions, 10 000 according to the police. The demonstration passed off peacefully, but was accompanied by the gangs of people in black, who in Bordeaux amassed piles of whatever they could find and set fire to them., while all the while attempting to engage the police in close combat. Photos in the free papers show clouds of tear gas in the side streets around Victoire as the police try to herd the gangs together and contain the violence.

This morning I expected to see little piles of burnt rubbish on the streets, or at least blackened areas of paving, but the city’s cleaning services clean it all away. It’s impressive. You’d think nothing at all had happened. The only traces left are any broken windows or bus stops.

Meanwhile a young man wearing a black wooly hat, a black face mask and a black anorak got on the tram this morning. I was a little wary until I spotted that he had natty grey check trousers on. You can’t run amok in grey check trews, can you.


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