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France: Protest flags

Last modified: 2016-03-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: protest |
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Anonymous French flag


Anonymous French flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 13 April 2014

A demonstration against ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) was organized in Paris in March 2012. A photo taken during the demonstration shows a French tricolor flag charged in the middle of the white stripe with the Guy Fawkes mask (history) used by the members of the Anonymous collective.

Ivan Sache, 13 April 2014

French Tricolor flag with a black heart

[French flag with a heart]

Flag seen during the 1 May 2002 demonstration in Paris - Image by Jorge Candeias, 6 May 2005

The first round of the 2002 presidential elections showed M. Chirac as winner and M. Le Pen as runner-up, while the Socialist candidate was only third. In the second round of the elections M. Chirac and M. Le Pen were the only candidate, and there was between the two rounds a nationwide appeal to voters not to vote for Le Pen, an appeal mainly to people who ordinarily wouldn't dream of voting Chirac.

Público published on 2 May 2002 a photo of the huge 1-million people demonstration that had taken place in Paris the day before. The photo features a group of three young men, most probably Maghrebine, on the allegoric statue is of the Republic erected on Place de la République, flying a big French flag (c. 5:9) with a black heart in the center.
The black heart might recall the black hand used on stickers (and maybe on home-made flag) by the movement SOS Racisme when they launched the campaign Touche pas à mon pote (Don't touch my buddy) in the late 1980s. The campaign started when Le Pen's FN started its ascension. Since SOS Racism was often seen as an organization managed by the Socialist Party, the use of a heart might be more neutral than the use of the hand.

Jorge Candeias, Jarig Bkker &Ivan Sache, 9 May 2005

"Arts" flags

In March 2004 there was a manifesto assembling artists, intellectuals of all kinds in France (and also lawyers, medical doctors, architects, etc.) against the sectorial policies of the French government, gathering over 40 thousand signatures and appealing to fight againts the "war on intelligence" that in their opinion the government was undertaking.
This resulted in an article in the Público newspaper. The caption of the photo illustrating the article made clear that it had been taken in the summer of 2003, when "intermittent" artists organized rallies all over France, protesting against the same issues that brought up the manifesto a few months later.

The demonstrations included the display of allusive flags. They were different, but designed under a common plan: plain flags with dark drawings or sillouettes in the center. Based on the shades of grey in the black and white photo, I would risk saying that the flags were red with black drawings, but please don't take this at face value. The drawings, as said, were varied, and portrayed the various aspects of artistic work. In the photo, there are flags with the drawing of a clown's head (two instances), with the sillouette of a ballerina and with what seems to be a writing feather inside an inkstand.

Jorge Candeias, 11 December 2004