Monday, 25 March 2013

Children put in danger and gutter politicians manipulate the truth at the Paris anti-gay demo

Would you take your children to see this close up?
As if there wasn't enough hysteria and ugly sentiment in France already. Yesterday's demonstration in Paris by anti-gay marriage protesters witnessed the kind of abject scenes and abject statements by politicians which one would have thought impossible in a civilised country.

The 'Manif pour Tous' demo was attended by 300,000 people. The organisers had originally intended to march down the Champs Elysées, but permission to use that route was denied by Parisian authorities and police so they were forced to take another route. The organisers then issued a provocative communiqué exhorting people to march to the rallying point using any route "including the Champs Elysées" and when the march got under way the determination of a number of demonstrators to reach the Champs Elysées was such that they violently attacked police who were cordoning off streets which led to it.

Barriers were dismantled, objects were thrown at the police, punches and kicks too, and the police, fearing that they would be overpowered, used teargas aerosols to keep them at bay. This was the signal for the demonstrators to employ plan B - the hideous tactic of instrumentalising their children by placing them in potential danger near the epicentre of the violence, as was confirmed by several journalists.

This had the desired effect, as some of the children who had been placed near the violence were exposed to the lingering effects of the teargas used to ward off the rioters, thus providing their manipulators with the chance to film a couple of them as they cried and complained that their eyes hurt. Not that anyone had the decency to comfort them and dab their eyes. Also, a photo was posted on Facebook of a young boy in a gas mask 'after having been gassed twice'.

But perhaps even more cynical than the tactics of the demonstrators was that of several senior right-of-centre UMP politicians who joined this bunch of rabble on their 'demo'.  They brazenly misrepresented the facts in a deliberate attempt to mislead the press and the public for political gain.

UMP Vice-president Laurent Wauquiez claimed that " the forces of law and order have fired at children aged 2 to 5 in baby buggies. [...] It is unacceptable to use gas against infants." He then demanded that the government be sanctioned.

Christine Boutin, also a member of the UMP and a virulent anti-gay campaigner, went even further by laughably dropping to the floor a good way away from the action and staying there long enough for photos to be taken of her. She subsequently stood up and, without so much as wiping her eyes, claimed that she had fainted because she had been "deliberately gassed, twice." She called for the resignation of Interior minister Manuel Valls.

Then came UMP party leader Jean-François Copé, who said "I want to express my indignation upon learning that it seems that tear gas has been used against families who are present with their families and that a certain number of them have been gassed."

I have watched pretty much all of the news video footage of these incidents (a lot of it is in the articles I have linked to above, and here is more footage) and have also studied many photos of yesterday's events, and the only use of teargas - which was used in handheld aerosol spray form with thus a direct effect range limit of about three to five metres - was against adults who were either using violence at close quarters or displaying threatening behaviour. Although some children were taken near the front none of them was aimed at because, again, even at that uncomfortably close range they were still far out of range of the teargas' direct effects, even though the fact of being in the area meant that they risked being affected by the drifting remains of what was used at close quarters. Also, no teargas grenades were thrown or fired, which rules out the idea that they were targeted at a distance. One man took his child to the front during a lull, which is an extremely irresponsible thing to do, and another can be heard saying "let's put the children at the front." And how is it that someone just happened to have a gas mask to put onto the face of a child who had allegedly been gassed? And how can 'adults' be so stupid as to approach scenes of violence involving hundreds of people with their children instead of fleeing? One woman as much as admitted that she had approached the violence with her children because she "wanted to go through to reach the Elysée."

This demonstration was a premeditated attempt to create propaganda in order to discredit the authorities and the police and thereby gain public support, but their tactics have backfired on them, so flagrant are the lies and manipulations.

And who organised this grotesque spectacle? A failed socialite, two-bit singer and homophobic born-again Catholic who goes by the apt moniker of Frigide Barjot. She made a minor name for - or should I say spectacle of - herself in the mid-2000's with a cheap disco song called (and I'm not joking, you can listen to it here) 'Make Love to me With Two Fingers', which features a chorus containing the following lyrics: 'Make love to me with two fingers. With three, they don't fit in. Make love to me with two fingers. With just one it doesn't do it for me.'

As to Wauquiez, Boutin and Copé, their risible tissue of cherry-picking and manipulative distortion of the facts is a disgrace even by French political standards, which were already woefully low before yesterday. It is being claimed by the demontration's organisers today that the event was 'hijacked' by extreme right wing elements, and there is surely a limited amount of truth to that, but they are crying crocodile tears because a number of the groups and associations who registered to participate in it are known to hold either homophobic, extreme right wing or integrist Catholic integrist views. These three politicians should never have even gone near this demonstration and sully themselves by standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of the sick denizens of the flabby underbelly of France's racist and homophobic community before reinventing facts and refusing to condemn the violence of many of the demonstrators.

These politicians and the demonstrators claim to be acting 'in the interests of children' by demonstrating against gay marriage and adoption. Well if deliberately putting children in harm's way is how they see fit go about it I would suggest that if anyone should be barred from having children in this country it is they.


  1. Taking kids to a demonstration - especially in Paris - and pushing them in front of the police and CRS is the dumbest and most irresponsible thing I have heard of in a long time. I, too, watched the footage. There was also that pregnant lady with her kids who claimed "she was just trying to get to the other side of the street... " - Maybe she was, but everyone knows if you see a big demonstration in Paris (especially one that involves such a controversial topic,) you walk away from it as fast as you can. No ifs or buts.

    As for the political tactics, of this and that party, and would-be manipulation, I know it happens on both sides. I remember the Socialists criticizing the way Sarkozy handled this and that event; or the police forces; while he was Ministre de l'Intèrieur, and later on president. C'est de bonne guerre. If Hollande was not such an incompetent fool (Flabby Flamby should be his nickname...) he would realize that the French would rather see him deal with unemployment and the economy instead of gay rights. But maybe this is one of the last areas where he feels he can *still* shine. Pathetic. He should pay attention to what *the street* is saying to him, loud and clear. Historically, French leaders who have not paid attention learned the lesson the hard way. -- Veronique (French Girl in Seattle) PS: For the record, I disagree with the protestors, even if I think France is not the only country dealing with racism, narrow-mindedness and xenophobia (It appears, however, that beating up on France always sells copy for the international media...)

    1. Hi Veronica. Yes, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about the dangerous use of children at this demo, and most of it is quite rightly very hostile to the demonstrators. And I agree that this kind of reaction by politicians is common whoever is in power (although yesterday's was exceptionally deceptive), but I was only writing about this demo, not comparing it to others, which wasn't my intention. As to Flabby Flamby, he's having a terrible time and is the least popular prez the country has ever had at this stage in a mandate. The next year is going to be awful for him that's for sure.

      Hey, I'm not sure what you mean by French-bashing. Were you referring to my good self young lady? :) I know that I am critical of some aspects of France and write about them instead of writing about the faults in other countries, but that's the reason this blog exists - to write about France, not other countries. So yes, you will see some French-bashing on my blog when I think something needs to be bashed, but I also write about other things such as living in France, non-polemical news, and I praise political events too, and I also post photoblogs.

      France is just like any other country - it has its good and bad sides - and that's what I blog about.

      Hope the weather's good in Seattle.

    2. Did not mention your blog, Fripouille. Mentioned the international media, as I recall. Only ONE article I read about the demonstration actually mentioned that people were also protesting Hollande's politics. The rest were quite happy highlighting the "narrow-mindedness" of the demonstrators, and the political exploitation by the Opposition. Another favorite is showing burned cars in the suburbs. They just LOVE showing burned cars in the suburbs. Booooooo!!! Look at big, bad, declining, gloomy France... It's a wonder so many people still line up outside of French Prefectures to obtain their Carte de Séjour! :-) PS: I may have lived in the United States for 17 years, my name is still Véronique, not Veronica, and I remain to this day, a proud citizen of la Belle France. :-) (Sorry, that probably does not fit the cliché of the unpatriotic French citizen...)

    3. Morning Véronique. I got a car of mine burned once outside the building in which I live. It was one of four because the fire propagated. It's just a part of living in a city unfortunately. As to the French-bashing side to the images, yes, that does exist, but you know my take, which is that it's de bonne guerre because the French press often indulges in English and American bashing too. The best thing is to ignore it all I think.

      I saw some articles in the French press about the movement's goals expanding to include Hollande's policies in general. The general view seemed to be that it was a dangerous development but I don't think so. I think it's a sign of desperation and frustration that the government isn't withdrawing the gay marriage bill. It will be interesting to see what happens at the next march, which the movement has already announced will take place in a few weeks.

    4. Zut ! I forgot to mention Véronique that at least two of the articles I've seen about the wider political goals of the Manif pour Tous movement mention that it could become a sort of French-style 'Tea Party' party. And in that case would Frigide Barjot be the French equivalent of Sarah Palin? :)

  2. I have never understood why people are so stupid to take children to any demonstration, and what's more to make them carry banners, posters and flags. I can only think they do not care for the children at home either.

    I am glad that we live in the country where this sort of thing does not happen, and the children here are the most well mannered kids I have yet to meet. They are a pleasure to know.

    I have to say no-one would ever talk me into going to a demonstration no matter what. I hate crowds of any sort, and anything that is possible to turn violent I want to be as far away from as possible. Have a good week Diane

    1. Yes, it's certainly true that living in the country means that all the 'social tensions' side of life is far away. As you know I do go to demos, to do photoblogs on them, and they can be quite scary sometimes. Probably the most violent one I have witnessed was against Sarkozy's plans to reform retirement. Tear gas everywhere, bottles and stones, smashing up of shops etc, you name it it was there. I got affected by tear gas a couple of times that day. But the most ironic thing about it was that it wasn't adults who were responsible, it was teenagers. I mean, teenagers rioting against a pension reform for people over 60!!!

      As you say, kids in the country are not like that, they're just normal kids and so much the better.

      Have a good day Diane,