Upon research it turns out that a group of 150 of what are considered the 'Extreme Right' in France gathered at Place Bellecour. Intent? To destroy, mar and 'reprends la ville'. The destruction from the 'casseurs' caused an uproar in their minds and they decided to gather and march down the street proclaiming their anger as French citizens.
The Extreme Right are considered close to Facist in France, are typically (and carefully) prejudice against any outsiders moving into France; they tend to express their ethnocentrism with pride. Resembling a very modest version of the Tea Party in America- they are often in their own world and never come out to face opposition.
Both moving and disconcerting, this group marched from Bellecour to Place Ampère singing the 'Marseillaise (French Anthem)' and shouting, 'Les lyonnais avec les commerçants' or 'The Lyonnais with the store owners'. The police descended back into the streets, blocking path after path towards the Place Ampère, simply to protect the group from and backlash of their actions.
Afraid of having a form of civil war in the streets of Lyon, the Police blocked the Extreme Right and forced them onto buses to transport them safely to a secure area. There was no gas (thankfully) this time, but the tensions were high. People in the crowd were debating with each other, we overheard one conversation...
Man 1: This is ridiculous, this type of racism shouldn't exist.
Man 2: Are you kidding? These people don't even belong in France, they aren't even French!
Man 1: Not French? Sir I am French. I was born in France. My mother was not, but I was, so I am French.
Man 2: This would never happen if we didn't have so many immigrants running the street.
Later a conversation between a Policeman and an observer...
Observer: This is crazy, the Police are protecting them and taking them home even though they have caused a disruption?That was the end of THAT conversation. The funniest thing was that the observer was sipping a beer while discussing this. I was tempted to snap a picture, but in reality that would have been dumb.
Policeman: You think we are a replacement for TCL? We're not taking them home.
Observer: Well where are you going to take them then?
Policeman: Read tomorrow's news and you'll see.
Teenager: Officer, I think it's ridiculous all this stuff, it's crazy!
Policeman (to teen): You talk too much.
Mixed emotions in France right now, we all feel a little anger towards the 'breakers' but it's important not to generalize and assume a certain group did it. In any riot or hostile situation in any country there will always be those types of people who will take the opportunity to use the chaos to gain something.. looting or not.
Here's the video of the event we captured from yesterday:
Be careful out there...