If Not Super Huge Success,
It Was a Really Nice Day

Bar-Café-Tabac, in Paris

Politicians Unasked for May Day

Paris:- Saturday, 3. May 1997:- According to the police estimates, 23,000 May Day revelers marched from place de le République, past Bastille, to the place de la Nation on May Day, Thursday. The organizers estimated the marchers numbered 60,000.

Just in case the candidates forget what the election is about, many in the parade carried banners demanding employment and the abolishment of the lack of it. Other themes were the reduction of the work-week and raises in salaries - subjects the politicians have avoided addressing.

Practically all of Paris' main unions were represented in the parade for the first time in 14 years - by their members. Front National on May Day Only the CGT's leader, Louis Viannet, marched with them. Marc Blondel passed the day in Bordeaux and Nicole Notat of the CFDT was in Nantes.

Front National parade on May Day in downtown Paris.

Apparently the unions showed more unity in Lille, Toulouse, Grenoble, Limoges, Nancy and Metz, than in Paris. The public-workers union, the FO, stood a bit apart in Marseille, Lyon and Nice; although they took part in the Paris demonstration.

Just as I got dislodged from a traffic island last year by the CGT's strongmen, this year they pushed one of their own - a photographer for L'Humanité - off his island. Socialist politicians who were not marching, tried to salute the passing parade, but were booed off the scene.

There were many banners and many colorful balloons, the sound trucks blasting 'world music' and, from what I saw, a festive air to the proceedings - as the weather for the day was ideal.

Rome beat Paris' score, as the three main Italian unions put on a music festival, which drew a half-million.

Memory of a Somber May Day

On the 1. May 1995, a visiting Moroccan named Brahim Remembrance of 1995 Bouarram, 21, was walking along by the Seine, near the Pont du Carrousel. A small group of skinheads appeared and the young Moroccan ended up in the river and drowned.

Young girls carrying the wreath to be placed in the Seine.

He did not know that Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National party traditional May Day celebration had just broken up and passed over the nearby bridge towards the left bank. He never knew why he ended up in the river.

On Thursday morning, long before any of the big demonstrations got under way, a group of 300 gathered at the Seine quai to toss a wreath of remembrance into the river.

Part of France Buoyed by 'Bambi' Victory

The French press and television have been paying extraordinary attention to the blitz elections in Great Britain for the past week.

The conservative Prime Minister John Major was considered to be a goner and the conservatives had been in power so long that the 'New' Labor Party's victory was really no surprise.

Blair and wife at 10. Downing

Euro supporters of all parties in France do not know exactly whether Tony Blair's move to 10. Downing Street is a positive sign of a change in long-time British semi-reluctance to whole-heartedly participate in the European Union.

Mr. and Mrs. Blair outside their new residence in London.

The overwhelming win by the socialist- oriented Labor party is being cautiously interpreted as being a stimulant to leftist tendencies among French voters. However, there are so many other dissimilar factors, that no solid conclusions can be reached.

One thing is certain; France's Socialist party brain-trust is taking a careful look at Tony Blair's very cautious campaign strategy, to see if they can get any helpful tips from it.

A Short Pause in the Drought

We have had a little rain for about four days and before the sidewalks were dry, TV-news was showing viewers scenes of farmers running their hands through dry soil with just a thin film of damp on top.


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