Rare Protest in a Luxe Shopping Area

It’s finally nice weather, and in Paris that means… demonstrations! Last week, besides the usual daily manifs, we had big pro- and anti-gay marriage demonstrations, before and after the French lawmakers passed the Mariage pour tous [marriage for all] act into law. Walking home down Avenue Montaigne (no, I don’t live there) the next day, I heard a lot of music and noise and noticed that the avenue was blocked off. This time it was Armenians, marching to protest the negation by modern Turkey of the Armenian genocide in the 1910s. There are a lot of Armenians in Paris and an Armenian Orthodox church is nearby. Normally the Paris authorities don’t allow manifs in touristy areas during the week, but obviously the Armenians were thought to be well-behaved.

The beginning of the march was cheerful with singing and flag-waving and little children in uniform (probably Armenian scouts. In France, Scouting tends to be far from inclusive: there are Muslim, Jewish, Communist, traditional Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant scout groups). At the end, there were young people carrying a long banner and loudly shouting “Justice! Assassins! Justice! Assassins!” Well-dressed Chinese, Japanese and American tourists stood on the sidewalk, mystified.

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