How unpleasant it is to be tear gassed! Our familiar route home along the banks of the river Erdre looked as nice as ever late on Saturday afternoon, but the air stung your cheeks and eyes. Shoppers and families were going about their business. The anti-airport demo, which we had caught up with late, approached the Prefecture, and reportedly someone threw a stone, injuring an unfortunate police officer. The police then started spraying the crowd with water cannon. At this, the crowd, some thousands strong in the gathering dusk, gave a very angry roar. It is a sound I have heard before only in the context of a football match. It is the sound you hear when the home striker, through on goal, with the ball at his feet, is hacked down by a desperate defender on the edge of the box. This is not a sound that any politician wishes to hear at the gates of the palace.
Whether the CS gas was mixed into the water cannon, or grenades were launched separately I do not know--we, toddler in hand, were already on our way home at the first sign of trouble. Nonetheless an unpleasant burning sensation pursued us home up the quay. I don't know what the regular folks standing at the tramstop made of all this: we were particularly sorry for a mother with a baby in a pushchair and a toddler walking alongside who could not leave the area quickly. Doubtless a thousand such stories were told last night.
Does the French government really intend to gas its way to building this damned airport, whose construction flies in the face of all reason? Shame on them! As for the stone-thrower: I trust you are being well paid by your criminal bosses to try to divide a reasonable political movement. Or perhaps you are merely an idiot.
Update: Apparently the sequence of events was as follows: some demonstrators tried to climb into the grounds of the Prefecture. The police then used the water cannon on them. Stones were then thrown at the water cannon operator. The police then let off a tear gas grenade. Tsk tsk!
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