The city of Cannes has banned protests along and around the Croisette during the Cannes Film Festival.
The CGT union, represented by Denis Gravouil on the Board of Directors of the Cannes Film Festival, is still preparing a large demonstration for May 21, but it will take place on Boulevard Carnot, far from the Croisette and the festival headquarters. There will also be a rally by hospitality workers, including hotel, cafe and restaurant workers, on May 19 from 1pm to 3pm outside the Carlton Hotel – whose famous guests this year include Martin Scorsese, with protesters likely banging saucepans to express their anger are technically allowed as the front of the Carlton is a private area.
The city of Cannes and regional authorities implemented this ban in most parts of Cannes to prevent unrest. Since early March, the country has been rocked by massive protests against the French government’s unpopular pension reform, which is raising the country’s retirement age. The last time France was rocked by protests of this magnitude was in 2004, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Cannes, angered by then-President Jacques Chirac’s government’s changes to unemployment benefits rules.
In response to the ban, Gravouil said diversity “It exemplifies the way this government works, whether in Cannes or elsewhere.” ‘ (the saucepan concert protesting pension reform).”
Cannes has restricted demonstrations along the Croisette since the 2016 terrorist attacks, but Céline Petit, a senior CGT official based in Nice, said she spent “nearly two weeks negotiating with local and regional authorities to reach a compromise on a… to achieve.” Demonstration route that would be close enough to the Croisette, as was the case in 2013, to give (their) actions some visibility.”
“It was always possible to find a middle ground, but this time they say they’re afraid it might get out of hand, but honestly I don’t know if it’s really fear or a willingness to not give visibility to our pension reform demands or what’s going on in the film world,” Petit said, alluding to the organization also planning to protest certain films being included in the competition.
“Pension reform aside, we’re also decrying the way women are treated in the film world, but they don’t want us to tarnish the glossy image and standards of the Cannes Film Festival,” Petit said.
Both Petit and Gravouil said the power outage at the Palais des Festivals – most likely the Lumière theater – could not be ruled out.
“We want some space to express ourselves and to be heard, we want to do a press conference and walk up the Palais stairs and the festival should understand that if they want to avoid things like (a blackout),” said Gravouil, who referred to the biblical story of David and Goliath to describe the encounter. “It will run much more smoothly if the festival plays along with us.”
Despite the tensions, the CGT, which happens to be a founding member of the Cannes Film Festival, will be on site at the Palais on May 21 at 10pm to host a screening of “Amor, Mujeres y Flores”, a documentary by Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva on the harsh conditions faced by women workers on a flower plantation in Bogotá. The screening will be followed by a debate involving the French feminist organizations 50:50 and Femmes à la Camera.
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