French theatres protest, demand reopening

Photo: EPA

French protesters occupied three national theatres on Wednesday to demand an end to the ban on cultural activities imposed due to the pandemic as frustration grows with the months-long halt to performances, AFP reported.

Theatres, cinemas, museums and other cultural spaces have been shut since France's last full lockdown in October, and have remained closed despite most businesses reopening in December. Pressure has been building for weeks and thousands marched in cities across France last Thursday to demand a reopening of the cultural sector.

The Paris march ended with around 50 people forcing their way into the shuttered Odeon Theatre and refusing to leave. Similar actions were seen on Tuesday at two other theatres -- the Colline in eastern Paris and the National Theatre of Strasbourg. University students also spent Monday night in the regional theatre of Pau in southern France.

According to Karine Huet, secretary general of the National Union of Musical Artists in France, "this is a national movement". "Regional unions have responded and it's starting to build. They are getting organised," she told AFP.

Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot visited the Odeon on Saturday and vowed to continue talks, but the union response has been unequivocal. "Occupy! Occupy! Occupy!" was the call on Tuesday from the culture section of the CGT union, adding that this was a direct follow-on from the "Yellow Vest" protests that rocked the country two years ago.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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