Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The right to gripe

Yesterday morning, Cahors was blockaded. Tow trucks, cherry pickers and the ubiquitous white vans were parked in traffic lanes leaving roundabouts outside the city. An ad-hoc coalition of artisans, from pastrycooks to plasterers, had chosen Tuesday to air a slate of grievances, from the price of diesel fuel to the loosening of rules controlling big-box stores. Never mind that the burghers of Cahors (or even the multitude of local government employees that work here) can do little about any of these issues: it's important for the French to exercise their right to complain. Manifestations, like national rail strikes, normally take place on Tuesdays or Thursdays, so as not to interfere with weekend activities.

Life was back to normal today. It's the first day of the sales and there's shopping to do.