Bulls n' Bears

Occupy Wall Street in France: Analysing the Movement

The Occupy Wall Street in France movement was inspired by the New York occupational protests, as organized by Adbusters, The New York General Assembly and Anonymous. The French movement is modeled after its American, British and Spanish counterparts - the Spanish protestors called themselves the 'Indignados'.

The target of 'Occupy' France, is the financial sector and the rich elite - the so-called '1%'. As a result, the first protestors chose to occupy the financial district in western Paris known as 'La Defense'. On the 5th of November 2010, about 500 protesters gathered on the open plaza between the tall banking and business buildings. Many of them had tents and camping supplies, due to their initial plan to stay there for as long as possible.

The organizers of this movement mobilized people via their website for “Occupons la Défense” - the official name for the "Occupy Wall Street in France" movement.

Due to bad weather, which was only due to get worse with the height of winter approaching, less than half the protesters will still there after the first day. Riot police were deployed, their main goal being to tear down the tents - which would in turn discourage a prolonged protest engagement. A stalemate ensued, with new tents replacing those that the police managed to confiscate, and a mere 20 tents formed the core of the protesters' camp.

The "Occupiers" were encouraged to keep things as peaceful as possible, and they were aware that arrests and scuffles with police would be imminent. As a result, there were fewer incidents of violence on both sides, than at the other 'Occupy' protests around the world.

Besides the weather playing its part in the small turnout, France is not in as much financial trouble as other European countries, such as Greece and Portugal. The French government is confident that the country is slowly recovering from the 2008 recession, despite high unemployment figures.

Although the Occupy Wall Street in France movement has clear goals, like all the other ones, it lacks any real solutions to the growing disparity between the wealthy elite and the ever-poorer middle and lower classes.