More than a Million March in Paris
January 11, 2015
The latest estimate is 1.5 million marching in Paris today. We have never seen anything like it. It’s 5:20 PM as I start to write and the Place de la République is still filled with an overflow crowd that will probably never get to follow the route to the official destination at Place de la Nation, but that’s not what matters.
So far there have been no reports of incidents. I didn’t expect the punk jihadis to turn up and face what looks like the entire population united against them. This is probably the safest day since September 30, 2000 when a different crowd massed in Place de la République with posters of Mohamed al Dura and shouted “Death to the Jews.” But I was concerned about crowd control. The French are notoriously undisciplined, they mill around, don’t queue up, park on the sidewalk and cross against the light.
But today is different. The crowd applauds the police, applauds each other and itself. There is no rush or crush. The police control the flow, there is no pushing from behind. I’ve never seen anything like it since I settled here in 1972. And I have seen hundreds of demonstrations of every sort. This is not a demonstration, it is an affirmation. Je suis Charlie could translate into the long awaited awakening of the democracies. Or it might be one more ocean of illusion to drown in.
More here. h/t: Nidra Poller