There’s tear gas in the air, a helicopter hovering overhead, and smoke obscuring the streets around the apartment? Must be Saturday.
Another week, another Gilets Jaunes protest here in Lyon. And in Paris. And everywhere else in France. This is the tenth weekend in a row that the protesters are out in the street. It comes after the President’s latest effort to try and rein in the anti-government feeling by announcing that he was open to suggestions from around the country on how to run things. He proposed to listen to the people and have them tell the government what should be done.
The people, of course, responded by (a) reflecting that the reason they elect people is to lead, not to ask for directions, and (b) explaining that if the President really was open to advice, he could start by resigning.
Not exactly what President Macron wanted to hear.
It came a few weeks after he tried to calm everyone down by backtracking on his original idea of a small rise in the diesel fuel tax. Show a bit of weakness to the French people, though, and you’ll regret it: they sensed that being out in the streets and causing trouble could actually work, and so continued.
Anyway, ten weeks in and the protests are now as much a part of the weekend here in central Lyon as the army patrolling the street for Operation Sentinelle (now into its fourth year of deployment inside the country) and those university brass bands playing renditions of Bruno Mars and classic 80’s rock.
Heading out for a run, I fought my way over the bridge and – under the helicopter’s gaze – fought my way up the hill to Saint Just and only the trail I ran for the first time a few weeks back on the advice of Philippe. This time, though, I followed it all the way to the end, a nice wide trail and a touch of brown and green in the midst of a big city.
Finding myself at Tassin, I turned for Vaise and the Saone again, then headed down to the last bridge in the ninth arrondissement where I crossed over and headed up the Rue dYpres. It’s a steep climb and one I ran yesterday, too, but it was fun to get up while I laughed along with the East Coast Trail and Ultra Podcast and their latest episode.
At the top I turned for home, passing through Croix Rousse and then dropping down to the Place des Terreaux where I closed things out to avoid tryin to run through the streets crowded with police, the army, tourists making the most of their visit, and the shoppers trying to take advantage of the January sales. I was home shortly after, into the shower, and then out to the lounge room to catch up on the news (short version: the protests continue) and catch my breath before heading off to Creed II at the cinema tonight.
Vive la France, am I right?