VIDEO -. Between 7,000 and 20,000 people demonstrated in Strasbourg against the proposed land reform providing for the union of Alsace Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne
Thousands of demonstrators, police said 7,000 people, up to 20,000 according to organizers, demonstrated Saturday in Strasbourg in a forest of red flags regional and white. They expressed their opposition to the land reform which plans to marry the Alsace Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne.
Turnout reached maximum 7,000 people at the height of the influx to 16 hours, depending the police. Revising downward an overly optimistic estimate of 30,000 people, the regional president Philippe Richert (UMP) has welcomed him an attendance “between 10,000 and 20,000 people,” or beyond its goal to meet 10,000.
Under a hot sun, the demonstrators gathered on the Place de Bordeaux, vast esplanade north of the city. Some wore red and white flags of Alsace, everything went calmly. Concerts regional groups as “Bredelers”, “Hop the Geiss” or “Kansas of Elsass” have succeeded on a large stage set up for the occasion, and lined with food booths offering among other unavoidable pretzels. Meanwhile, farmers in front of their tractors, distributing free apples.
“Reform of contempt”
“Hands off Alsace,” could be read on a sign several meters high, contained an Alsatian traditional air angry and wielding a pitchfork costume. “Alsatians yes! Sheep no! “Or” We do not mix Riesling and Champagne, “chanted other posters. The collection, whose start time was set at 14:30, was to last until 17:30. “I came to say I am proud of my roots, I do not want people coming to our heritage,” says Stephanie Schaeffer, a mother of smiling family wearing the typical Alsatian headdress, with its large black ears, and T-Shirt with storks, the iconic bird of the region. “Merge with Lorraine, it would not bother me, because we have a common history. But when they (MPs) have added the Champagne-Ardenne, it was too “adds Christian, a fig-picture bailiff clerk came from the Mulhouse region with his wife.
The event seemed like a real test for the local right UMP head, causing the event with regional chambers. Several elected Alsace, the Regional Chair Philippe Richert (UMP), have spoken publicly. “Alsace wants to participate in the future and not be forced to see it,” said Philippe Richert including the President (UMP). The mayor of Mulhouse Jean Rottner (UMP), which an online petition against the merger with Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne collected some 55,000 signatures since this summer, for his part denounced a “reform of contempt” and regretted that the government “does not open the door to dialogue.”
Feelings of identity
Majority Regional Council and the two councils of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, right Alsatian hoped to collect at least 10,000 people to be heard nationally. A low turnout would make “very difficult to argue” when discussing territorial reform in the Senate ten days Alsatian cause, had estimated earlier this week the UMP president of the General Council of Bas-Rhin, Guy Dominic Kennel. The three communities have risen Alsatian 22 September draft “one council” of Alsace, yet rejected in a regional referendum in 2013 mainly because of a weak turnout. Alsace was resigned to the idea of merging with Lorraine. But the proposal of Deputies on July 23 to add the Champagne-Ardenne led the right and center in the Alsatian now oppose any merger.
Meanwhile Alsatian left, which continues to advocate for a union with the only Lorraine, denounced a partisan event. It strongly criticized the decision of the Regional Council, chaired by the UMP Philippe Richert, propose TER train tickets at a special rate of 5 euros round trip to encourage non-Strasburg coming to the rally. Alsatian left is also concerned with a rise of a sense of identity. Because the event is also supported by the National Front, the far-right movement “Alsace First” and “Unser Land” regionalist party (our country), who announced their presence.