On Sunday, France was both anxious and scared, expecting a political earthquake.

We were voting in the second round of the snap election to choose all 577 members of the National Assembly. The far right was set to win the most seats in an unprecedented surge towards power.

How many seats would the far right win? We had no hope. In the worst-case scenario, they could secure the absolute majority.

The city was boarded up on Sunday afternoon. It reminded me of Salvador before Carnival except there would be no party, just a potential protest against fascism and pure anger. Nantes even announced that only old tramways would be in service instead of the newer models, “hidden” somewhere, or else they would be burned.

I found it hilarious—one of these “only in France” moments when the city kind of tells you it’s okay to burn down the old tramways but not the new ones.

Nantes boarded up, July 7, 2024
Nantes boarded up, July 7, 2024
Nantes boarded up, July 7, 2024
Nantes boarded up, July 7, 2024
Nantes boarded up, July 7, 2024
Nantes boarded up, July 7, 2024

At 7:30 p.m., I walked to the Tour the Bretagne to join the antifascist sit-in waiting anxiously for the election results. It wasn’t a happy gathering, the far right was set to win. Yet, it felt important to show up and protest, not against the election results—in France, elections aren’t rigged—but against the situation.

Apathy is not an option.

Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Antifascist gathering at the Tour de Bretagne, Nantes, July 7, 2024

At 7:59, everybody gathered around the big screen.

In France, election results are announced at 8:00 p.m. on the dot. There’s a media blackout over all election weekends so the results are a complete surprise (unless you check foreign media…).

There was a split second of disbelief before the crowd erupted into cheers.

I couldn’t see the screen, it took me (and many of us) a minute to understand.

The far right didn’t secure the absolute majority—the left-wing alliance did.

This is the biggest political upheaval in decades.

France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France's leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024
France’s leftist New Popular Front wins a shock victory, Nantes, July 7, 2024

I rushed home to pick up Mark and my mum and we joined the informal party, then we started marching. Since all protests were banned throughout France on Sunday night, it took about ten minutes to get tear-gassed.

A few comrades kept the police busy, throwing Molotov cocktails and setting garbage cans on fire, while most of us took another street.

“TOUT LE MONDE DÉTESTE LA POLICE!”

“I like this one,” Mark admitted. “It’s catchy and I totally understand what it means.”

In case you were wondering why so many people wear masks, helmets, hoodies and goggles, well, ask the riot cops. I’m not fighting physically so I go unmasked but dressed in red and black—good shoes are also useful because you do run quite a bit when the riot cops run after you…

We came home at 11 p.m.

Finally, some good news!

(Sorry, Mark, this was the latest protest this summer…)

Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Post-election march against fascism, Nantes, July 7, 2024
Tear-gas canister, souvenir for Mark
Tear-gas canister, souvenir for Mark
Tear-gas canister, souvenir for Mark
Tear-gas canister, souvenir for Mark

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6 Comments

  1. Isa July 8, 2024 at 10:30 am

    On célèbre, on souffle, et maintenant on lutte. C’est qu’un sursis de 3 ans, au mieux. Je suis encore en réflexion sur quel mode de lutte je vais m’engager…
    Allez, on y va !

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 9, 2024 at 7:49 pm

      Je ne doutais pas vraiment de ton vote, mais je suis heureuse qu’on soit dans le même camp et état d’esprit :_)

      Pareil, je cherche mon mode de lutte. Dis-moi si tu trouves le tien!

      Reply
      1. Isa July 10, 2024 at 2:36 am

        Oh je suis une sale bobo gauchiasse féminazie boulgour moi ! (Tu as quitté la France il y a longtemps, tu as peut-être pas les codes linguistiques… )

        Reply
        1. Zhu July 11, 2024 at 9:07 pm

          Ah, merci. Je ne savais pas quoi mettre sur mon profil LinkedIn.

          Par contre, j’avoue que culturellement, c’ets plutôt riz que boulgour chez nous.

          Reply
  2. Martin Penwald July 9, 2024 at 3:11 am

    OUÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ !!!!

    Bon, on n’a qu’une majorité relative, mais c’est mieux que rien. Après, il faut espérer que les sociaux-traîtres comme Hollande (élu en Corrèze) et ses larbins ne fassent pas alliance avec Moncon.

    Reply
    1. Zhu July 9, 2024 at 7:50 pm

      Je me délecte encore de la gueule des fachos à 20 h dimanche. Ils avaient l’air encore plus méchants.

      Reply

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