About Me

My photo
Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

Search My Blog

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Story Time: Involved in a Riot

I live next to Place Bellecour in Lyon, and yesterday was one of those days that I look back and say to myself, self, did that actually happen?

The day started normal, coffee and some oatmeal, watching some news.  My school was closed from the foreboding warnings of manifestations; apparently the previous manifestation in 2005 caused enough damage to take the warning seriously and stop the courses for the day.

Brian and I watched images flicked on television of riots, burning cars- and the ticker under the news; "URGENCE:  Incedencie à Place Bellecour en Lyon"

Holy Crap.  Instantly we got dressed and wandered outside- this was around 12:40pm mind you- and nothing much was happening.  The rioters were surrounding the police, pelting them with rocks.
Right outside our door, 12:45pm...
We decided to go ahead and get Brian to work.  I sat around and tried to study, as the sirens and the helicopters passed.  I wandered to my little market in the 7ème... and as I began my trek back on Velo'v I saw a black plume of smoke floating from the sky... I didn't have my camera but I snapped a photo with my Blackberry to send to Twitter...
Great. Now the burning starts.  on Twitpic 
Not very good quality, but the black smoke in the picture represents a car burning down the street.

I went home, marched upstairs and locked my doors.

Around 4:30 pm, Brian returned home and was very excited.  He told me there was some "Crazy shit" going on outside, and that "Rue Victor Hugo was absolutely massacred".  I threw on my shoes, my jacket and ran out the door with him.  We managed to snap these photos of the damage...

Advertisement destroyed 
Micromania got the worst...
Metro destroyed
Telephone Booth destroyed

Another broken advertisement..

A lot of broken glass and cell phone cameras.  It was like walking into a war zone.  It only got worse when we returned to Place Bellecour to film some of the action... as the Police started gathering we realized it's because they planned to 'Gas Bomb' the entire square, which meant that they were going to pelt everything in sight with gas to get everyone out of the square.  We were in the square and yes, we got gassed.  What does it feel like?  It feels like someone took jalapeno peppers and made it into dust and blew it all over my face.  My eyes teared up, my throat burned, I couldn't breath... we ran.

People in Bellecour
More gas
Gas Clears
Add caption

We decided then it was time to head home... but the street we were on was blocked by the Police..
We were blocked from home..
No one could pass. We had to walk around the block towards the Quai to get to home.. and then we saw this outside of our door...
The fountain..
Yes, that's a trashcan in the fountain...

Leftover Gas Pellet
Leftover Gas Pellet... see the scorch marks?

Rue des Marronniers
Standing on Rue des Marronniers- incredibly it's locked up.. empty..

Today is a new day.. but what a clean up the city of Lyon is gonna have to do. I've been hearing it was one of the worst riots in a long time- all we can do is wait. Gas is running out around France due to the gas workers on strike, SNCF is running part time, same. Public transport is unreliable. Schools are closing.

It's truly an incredible time to live in France.. and I don't regret it one bit. I'll keep you posted if anything new happens, until then, here's the video I made showing the events of October 19, 2010 in Lyon.

Video of October 19 2010 in Lyon


  1. I'm sorry that you had to watch such a sad scene. But I'm glad that you've seen the difference between the grèvistes and the breakers.

    Oh, and your blog is awesome. Seeing Lyon through your American girl's eyes is very surprizing.

    Best regards.

  2. Ahah, my dear Sasha, don't say public transports are unreliable, i work for TCL and i can grant you the transports were not working these days because police told us it was not safe for everyone, the "casseurs" were too dangerous for passengers and drivers (which were not on strike, by the way!)
    Love your blog, it's so fun to discover how you see our country!

    See ya!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...