Judging by the number of hits on this site yesterday – there were obviously a number of people (journalists and researchers I assume) desperate to know more about the meeting of the three heads of government yesterday.
In case you didn’t know, and if you’re a financial commentator it is unlikely, that Sarkozy, Merkel and er, the Italian chap were in town yesterday to discuss a very important thing or two. I knew something must be up when I cycled past a row of riot vans on my way to drop the kids at school. What they discussed, or why, I couldn’t give a monkey’s arse about. What does concern me however is why the security forces felt the need to cut off access to Place de la Replublique just before lunchtime.
The Town Hall, just next to the Opera House on Place Broglie, is where most non-MEP politicians like to hold meetings. So it often becomes the focal point of any security operation. Meaning the CRS (riot police / armed guards) block off the roads in the immediate vicinity from all pedestrian or wheeled traffic. That is – normally just as far as the Passerelle des Juifs and Rue Brulée. Yesterday however, it was felt that the entire Place de la Republique needed to be sectioned off.
This was particularly annoying as I had a school-run to complete by bicycle, and doing so without going through said Place is rather difficult. So I asked if they had cut off any other roads I should know about – just in case my trajectory could be otherwise affected by this over-the-top security operation for three less-then-special human beings.
“I don’t know, I’m not from around here.” the gendarme said helpfully.
What was most laughable was when the cops tried to get a motorcade of smoked-glass limos into the city without stopping. At the junction of Avenue de la Paix and Avenue des Vosges they were encouraging every driver to jump the red lights so as to keep things moving. They neglected to point out what they were trying to achieve to the pedestrians crossing on green however – who were all very nearly mown down as a result.
This tale is unlikely to whet the appetites of journalists searching for a story connected with the “great meeting in Strasbourg.” However, I am not sorry to disappoint.