On Tuesday, October 19th, the junior High School of Val d'Huisne, in my hometown, was burnt down to the ground by persons unknown, and the action then blamed on strikers.
The authorities had been meaning to shut down this school for the last two years in the name of budget cuts, but thanks to teachers and parents, it had remained open for the students from the working class "Sablons" neighbourhood.
The school burned all night despite the best efforts of fire-fighters. Incendiary devices were found in the rubble. Now, nothing is left.
On Thursay October 21st, numerous road blocks put in place by municipal workers, students, auto workers, railway workers, nurses, teachers, and many others. Only trucks and buses are blocked, drivers returning home from work are allowed to pass. Many honk to signify their support.
On Friday, strikers (auto workers, truckers, teachers, railway workers, manufacturing workers) manage to force their way into the local council (Conseil General) meeting in my hometown. They are greeted with applauses by French Communist Party and Socialist Party mayors and Members of Parliament.
The strikers heckle Fabienne Labrette-Ménager, right-wing MP from a local constituency, who has just introduced a private parliament member's bill which would authorize police to arrest "strikers who disrupt traffic".
The strikers : "Shame ! Shame !"
Fabienne Labrette-Ménager : "I'm not ashamed ! You're preventing honest, hard-working people from going to work...And you're increasing the number of unemployed people through your actions."
The strikers : "How many unemployed people do you know ? It's surprising you would mingle with such lowly people !"
Fabienne Labrette-Ménager : "Well, I used to be the head of the Manpower private employment agency !"
Applause from workers "Bravo ! bravo ! Making money from those desperate for a job ! Well done !"
On Thursay, strikers address the riot police who are preventing them from blocking the Arnages fuel depot over a loud-speaker :
"ATTENTION RIOT-POLICE, PARAMILITARIES AND MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES ! THIS IS A HEALTH AND SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE HOSPITAL WORKERS AND SOCIAL WORKERS ! BEWARE OF THE SIGNS OF WORK-RELATED STRESS ! FEELING THE WORK YOU ARE DOING BRINGS NO PERSONAL FULFILLMENT ? PRESSURE FROM SUPERVISORS ? INABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS ? INCREASED ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION TO HELP YOU COPE ? ALL THOSE ARE WARNING SIGNS OF WORK-RELATED STRESS AND DEPRESSION. DO NOT OVERLOOK THESE SYMPTOMS ! PLEASE COME AND TALK TO HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS IN THE PICKET LINE WHO WILL LISTEN AND HELP YOU."