Solidarity with the Atenco Movement in Paris
Account of Demonstration in Defense of the People of Atenco and Texcoco
By Miguel Fuentes
Reporting from Paris
May 10, 2006
PARIS, MAY 9TH: It is springtime here in Paris. The birds are singing and the pink trees cover the avenues of the city with their leaves. It is within this scene that the French youth met to declare there support to the town of San Salvador Atenco, in mourning from the death of the young Francisco Cortés Santiago, and from the arrest of more than two hundred people. This is not the human tide that recently flooded the streets of France because of national politics, but it is enough today to block a street. The chosen spot is in front of the Mexican consulate, which continues its operations despite the protest.
As always on these occasions someone is distributing fliers and exciting all those present. “Its all Wal-Mart’s fault; they don’t just exloit their employees. Now they are rehearsing their first coups-de-etat,” indignantly exclaims one woman who resembled Marianne, the woman symbol of France, with the flower between her hairs and her long skirt.
“They have decided to double up on their bet in order to change the July election results” is the analysis of one long-bearded youth, “but the politicians are already part of the past, now it is up to the people to decide for themselves,” he firmly asserts.
We try to find out the opinions of other participants, taking ourselves on a walk through the flags and signs. “I saw the information on the Internet,” says Cedric, a student in history, “and I honestly do not have words to say what I am feeling, but write down for those Mexicans that they are not alone, that here is some people that are thinking of them and supporting them.” “I came here because a friend asked me to” confesses Mathilde, smiling as she explains to has that she is “more than 40 years old… but younger than 80,” though she changes her expression to say that she finds it “scandalous that they have killed a child who has passing through there and they haven’t even admitted doing it.” We also see an entire family: mother, father, children and even a stroller for the youngest member of the family. “We don’t worry too much about politics” the parents point out, “but we knew about what happened and we don’t want our children to grow up in a world where such things happen.” “¡Viva Mexico!¡Viva Mexico!,” in Spanish, is the opinion of the six year old child who repeats this one slogan of the march as if it were a mantra.
One of the organizers sticks a poster on the door of the consulate, and a beautiful and elegant secretary comes out to ask him to remove it. It is a French girl, surely foreign to Mexican politics, and she finds herself in the difficult position of symbolizing a government despite not having anything against the multitude that she had in front of her. After taking down the pamphlet, she tries to return it to the man that posted it. “You can keep it” he responds, “merci” the kind employee lets out.
The people begin leaving. We doubt that the federal government worries about the protests all around the world. But, in spite of that, there is a part of France that wishes to be able to intercede on behalf of the liberation of the detained and that came out to demonstrate for the third time in a week to express their solidarity with the people of Atenco.
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