The protests in Paris has erupted as expected this weekend. It is surreal that they have almost taken on the feel of a “pay per view” type event online. As I write this, it is approaching 1pm, and from what I have seen the Paris Police have been restrained in their tactics.
At one point the Police found themselves surrounded. They were blocked on two sides, on one a large drop into an underpass, the other was a row of buildings. Having entered this corridor, the Police found protesters to their front and rear, effectively trapping them in position. Thankfully, the Police were able to withdraw, without having to resort to force.
Regardless of whether the protest is justified, I was disgusted to see last week that the Arc de Triomphe had been spray painted with graffiti. This is the national memorial to their war dead and
You may think it is a little weird that I am watching wide-scale civil disorder in a country hundreds of miles away but there is method in the madness. Whilst others may be watching eagerly waiting for the Police to engage with force, I am more interested in watching the dynamics of the crowd. By understanding the crowd’s collectively behaviour, we can watch for escalation points and those stirring up people to move from protest to riot.
Of course, I am restricted to the viewing points provided by the camera-teams on the ground, but understanding the danger signs, will allow for quicker action to be taken if ever I am caught up in a situation like this. It is very unlikely that will occur since I avoid cities where I can because I don’t like large crowds. However, you never know. Better to have the knowledge and not use it, than need it and not have it.