French Protesters Waking Up Before Noon for the First Time Since They Last Rioted
MARSEILLE, FRANCE—French rioters, upset over proposed austerity measures that would see them working an additional 2 years before retirement, have taken to waking up at 10AM to prove just how serious they really are.
“It’s all about the precedent,” 26-year-old government notary Paul Mailloux told me over a breakfast of freshly-baked breads and pastries as we sat down on the terrace of his high-rise apartment, enjoying the gorgeous view of Marseille’s famous Jardin des Vestiges. “If we give them a year now, they might ask for a year later, and another year after that. Before long, they might actually expect us to work until we’re 55!” Mailloux spat, swearing out President Sarkozy as he threw away his uneaten food, explaining that the baguettes would be “unpalatable” by the next day:
“I might as well eat dirt!”
Mailloux led me down to the street, where bleary-eyed youths refrained from smashing windows long enough to recount to me the misery of blowing the dust off of their alarm clocks the previous evening. The rioters then stopped for a moment to yawn, light cigarettes, and flick them into the faces of passing policemen. Stretching his arms, Mailloux led me into his favorite café, where he is known to spend up to five hours a day sipping espresso and browsing the internet.
“I still remember the student riots of 2006,” Mailloux recalled with a sentimental tone as police fired off canisters of tear gas in the distance. “That was suffering. That was injustice! Having to wake up at 8AM to set cars on fire — what is this, Detroit?”
“We aren’t asking for much,” Mailloux pleaded to me. “We just want the government to give us money for having the persistence to make it to the office at all after getting drunk 3 nights a week! It’s how my father lived! It’s how his father lived! It’s French! And I’ll be damned if I’m going to go through life with any sort of personal responsibility!”
I asked Mailloux if he thought the strike might end soon, and he shrugged nonchalantly.
“We get 8 weeks of vacation each year!” Mailloux laughed. “Why should I care when the strike ends? I’m actually getting paid for this shit!”