Saturday, September 28th : Yellow vests Act 46. So it is almost a year that every Saturday sees events taking place in the whole of France. After a summer that saw the protesters take a break, september marks a return to the street. In France, we have the right to demonstrate to the extent that these events are declared to the Prefecture so that they are well supervised. Many excesses took place on the sidelines of the various previous acts and it is always with anguish that shopkeepers apprehend these Saturdays …
This Saturday, I’m in the streets of Toulouse and quite quickly I realize that some tension is palpable in the streets of the pink city. Stickers stuck on the store windows, walls tagged with hostile messages, parents with their children with a certain anxiety in the eyes. The day before we learned of the mourning of Jaques Chirac who was President of the Republic from 1995 to 2007. I ran across tagged messages that I find quite revolting. Is the world going crazy ? When I was younger, I loved an animated series that was on MTV. It was a girl named Daria who had a pretty dark humor and she used to watch a series called Sick Sad World. It is the feeling that I have while strolling in Toulouse.
I do not stand here in anti yellow vests nor in pro elsewhere. I just notice that the world is not going anywhere. I discuss with some people in the street about these events. A man who seems to help people who are victims of tear gas, explains to me that he has been there since Act 10 (more than 6 months !) And he does it for his children. He does not know how they will manage in the future society that we are leaving them. We discuss a little about this finding that we must change things, consume differently, distribute differently wealth. We agree on that. No time to waste, we see gendarmes walk to Capitol Square pass us. It does not bode well. By the way, quite quickly, we hear an explosion and they start charging.
It stings immediately to the nose and eyes even if I am at a safe distance from the epicenter of the event. Just in front of me a parasol of McDonald’s restaurant is on fire. It is an impression of chaos that reigns. And yet many onlookers are there to watch these scenes that look like an urban guerrilla. Crowd movements take place and we are specifically asked to move to shelter. I try to take some pictures, but I do not take any chances. I have no helmet, mask, or protections. I content myself with documenting the streets a little while remaining relatively sheltered. People evacuate a lady who is visibly shocked with eyes reddened by tear gas.
Shortly after, Place du Capitole, the heart of Toulouse is given back to pedestrians. People are moving around again as if nothing had happened. The vans of the municipal police move towards the epicenter of the demonstration that has moved. All that remains is cleaning up the damage … This Sunday morning, I learned from the newspapers that the police had used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the 2000 demonstrators in the late afternoon. The cleaning services were also hard at work to erase all the damage caused by this event. Anyway an Act 47 is already planned next Saturday … You’re right Daria. It’s a Sick Sad World.
All the photographs were made with the Ricoh GR in Toulouse.