Lyon: “Half the City is in a Bubble”, the Very Locked Visit of Emmanuel Macron

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the very locked visit of Emmanuel Macron to Lyon

The President of the Republic came to Lyon on Monday afternoon to pay tribute to the resistance fighters and to Jean Moulin, being carefully kept away from the crowd who demonstrated

  • This Monday afternoon, Emmanuel Macron went to Lyon to pay tribute to the resistance fighters and in particular to Jean Moulin, arrested eighty years ago.
  • A very locked visit, the demonstrators being kept at a good distance so as not to disturb the ceremony.
  • Between 3,000 and 5,000 people nevertheless marched through the streets of Lyon, without their noises ever reaching the ears of the President of the Republic.

In the streets of Lyon surrounding the former prison of Montluc, not the slightest trace of a living soul. Not even a curious leaning on the balcony. The district cordoned off, takes on the appearance of a ghost town. The CRS cordons deployed along the adjoining buildings monitor any possible intrusion while awaiting the arrival of Emmanuel Macron. It is there that the President of the Republic must pay homage to the resistants and to Jean Moulin, arrested eighty years ago. His arrival is announced for 2:40 p.m.

600 meters from the scene, the demonstrators, kept at a distance, nevertheless began to warm their voices without the slightest echo reaching the entrance of the memorial. Only the insistent horns of locomotives passing nearby come to break the silence and remind us that the pension reform is far from being digested.

Last instructions before the arrival of the Head of State. The press, with the exception of a handful of journalists, must remain inside the establishment. Direction the press room, access to which is locked by a palisade. No possibility of going out to witness the arrival. Nor to go to the toilets during the visit which will have to be followed on a giant screen.

Saucepans and fan chants

3:07 p.m. Emmanuel Macron introduces himself and stops in front of the alpine hunters posted at the entrance to the prison. Wreath laying. The president kneels quickly while a chorus of officers sings at Capella the Marseillaise and the chant of the partisans. Concentrated face, he raises his head, his eyes sometimes closed, as if locked in a bubble. Very far from the noises of pans and lids which redouble. Meanwhile, the ranks of protesters continue to grow. 3,000 according to the prefecture, 5,000 according to the CGT. But still not the slightest sound of perceptible displeasure.

Then, the President of the Republic greeted the officials, kissed the Klarsfeld couple, chained handshakes, familiarized himself with the deputies from his rank, exchanged a few warm smiles with Grégory Doucet, the mayor of Lyon who mischievously slipped in to him “It’s I who welcome you and welcome you”. It’s time to rush into the enclosure of the former prison to follow the visit in the footsteps of Claude Bloch. At 94, he is the last deportee still living in Lyon. The only one who can still testify to the horror of the jails of Montluc. At 15, and solely because he was a Jewish kid, he was locked up there for three weeks before being taken to Auschwitz.

On each floor, the cells recall the atrocity of the Nazi regime. A space of four square meters, in which up to eight resistance fighters were piled up, sleeping on the floor like animals. In the room, a single basin as a toilet, a window far too high to let in the sun’s rays. And thick wooden doors that only opened when inmates were taken out to be tortured. Ten thousand men and women lived there between February 1943 and August 1944, waiting to be executed or deported.

“The Republic is necessary, vital, just”

In each cell, there are portraits of famous resistance fighters: Marc Bloch, Raymond Aubrac, André Frossard and also Jean Moulin. A “child of the Republic”, underlines Emmanuel Macron in his tribute speech. Not a word about the mobilization of the day but as if he wanted to respond to the demonstrators, the Head of State insisted on the “French Republic” which is “by definition, neither bad nor harmful” but “necessary, vital, just “. “It still is today,” he continues. We live in a country where one can never separate with impunity the idea of ​​a republic and that of human progress”. And to recall the role that political parties and unions have played alongside Jean Moulin.

On May 27th, 1943, when he chaired the founding meeting of the National Council of Resistance, “the Communist Party is there, the Radical Party too (…) The Democratic Party is there. Jean Moulin is the man from London, and yet the resistance fighters from within are there, as are the two major unions of Republican France: the CGT and the CFDT, who support Emmanuel Macron. Are thus present all the forces of renewal, forces of work, forces of youth, finally assembled within the same organization.”

Outside, the street rumbles. Alerts indicate that the black blocks have invited themselves into the procession and that they have just broken into the town hall of the 3rd arrondissement of Lyon. While the President of the Republic leaves the memorial, Véronique Dubois Bertrand, the environmentalist mayor of the 3rd arrondissement hastens to follow in his footsteps to go there urgently. “I can’t understand the need to break up to be heard even if I can understand the despair of some,” she slips.

“We have a president who is in his bubble”

Emmanuel Macron escorted and always carefully kept away from the crowd, is already on his way to the airport. “I understand the concern of wanting to protect the President of the Republic but I found it a bit excessive. I do not want to give lessons to anyone but the way of managing security, in the demonstrations and here, wonders me ”, lose the elected official before slipping away.

“I would have liked there to be more people here and that’s what I said to the President of the Republic, continues the environmental senator Thomas Dossus. I would have liked the inhabitants to be able to attend this tribute, which is important for our city. Unfortunately, given the crisis we are in today, this tribute could not be opened to the public. Half the town is under bell. We lived a tribute under a bubble. This Monday morning, the president paraded on the completely deserted Champs-Élysées. He will have to come out of his denial. Even a tribute as solemn as this could not be consensual. And to conclude: “I wonder how we are going to do another four years with a president in his bubble, far from his people”.

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