There may be more than one way to stage a nonviolent protest. We had our chance on the Monday, getting to Eurosatory at the crack of dawn, ready to greet visitors to the Expo as they got off the métro. The other team, the CRS, the French “heavy squad”, got there first and watched our antics with grim amusement - they would get their chance the next day.
The Expo visitors ran the gauntlet of our heckling, tomato sauce-letting and dying in front of them, for the most part looking pretty sheepish, knowing they were bad. They didn't seem to have much to say for themselves; this was business as usual. Their spirits lifted when they reached the welcoming arms of the CRS.
On Tuesday, we were pretty bad. About 80 of us, half foreigners, met up, ready for as yet unspecified badness. We plunged into the métro and re-emerged somewhere sometime later, dashed into a building past a hopping mad concierge and clambered to the top floor. No wild geese, and so down again and out onto the pavement.
This was bad enough for the police and they arrived in six large trucks to give us a lesson in how to run a peaceful protest. The next time I'll know what to do. The large trucks are essential. We'll bundle the arms dealers off to some garage or other and waste a lot of everyone's time taking down names and addresses and “oohing” and “aahing” about where they were born. And why? It would keep them off the streets for a bit and let everyone else get on with living. Soon I was back on the Very Fast (nuclear-electricity-powered) Train to the Dordogne. Strange that so many people come out against nuclear, but so few will raise a head against the arms trade. Perhaps a world without nuclear is imaginable, whereas a world without weapons just isn't.