Everyone agrees, even some cautious members of the government: the January 13 demonstration was an immense, undreamed of success.
All the more so because it brought out into the streets of France those who are silent, the France that does not make noise, the well-brought-up France that tries not to be a nuisance, the France that toils and pays its taxes without complaint, that has never committed a crime greater than a parking meter violation, that yields its seat in a bus, and that helps old ladies lift their bags in the train.
The France that is not talked about on the evening news, because its children are not drug dealers, or squatters; they don’t burn cars or punch their teachers in the face; the France that no government has to appease because it is so docile, and respectful of the laws and the established order. The nice family-oriented France, Catholic or not, that people sometimes take for a sucker and a chump, to speak frankly.
It was this France that came out en masse, its baby carriages piled high, its young riding atop floats, its children delighted to have escaped the usual Sunday chores. It was this France that came to protest, to cry out, to proclaim: “François, we don’t want your law!” “Taubira, you’re done for, the families are in the street!”