|Would you take your children to see this close up?|
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.