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Parisians Plan Unconventional Protest in Seine Ahead of 2024 Olympic Games

The French are elite gold medalist at protesting ????

♬ original sound – Dylan Page

Paris is witnessing the planning of an unconventional protest as locals gear up to express their dissatisfaction with the government’s £1.2 billion cleanup initiative for the River Seine in preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games. The planned protest, known as a ‘sh*t flashmob,’ is scheduled for June 23, the same day President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo are set to swim in the river to demonstrate the success of their cleanup efforts.

The hashtag #JeChieDansLaSeineLe23Juin, which means ‘I sh*t in the Seine on June 23,’ has gained traction on social media platform X, following the announcement of the swim. A website has also been launched, allowing participants to register their chosen locations for the protest, aiming to send a strong message to the authorities.

Protests in France are renowned for their dramatic flair. Past acts of rebellion include releasing piglets in supermarkets to protest pork prices and smashing 200,000 eggs to highlight low egg prices. This upcoming protest seeks to underscore the perceived failures of the government’s initiatives.

“After putting us in sht, it is up to them to bathe in our sht,” reads the campaign slogan on the protest’s website. Flyers circulating on social media humorously encourage Parisians to join the event at Pont Marie in the 4th arrondissement, promising free access without reservation.

Social media has been buzzing with memes and AI-generated images mocking the protest. One image shows toilets installed on the banks of the Seine by the ‘City of Paris,’ while another depicts President Macron standing on a bridge over the river, surrounded by exaggerated depictions of feces.

The protest arises amidst efforts to make the Seine swimmable again, a throwback to the 1900 Paris Olympics when the river was used for swimming events. Last summer, a sewer issue led to the cancellation of a pre-Olympics swimming event, raising concerns about the water quality.

Macron, when asked about his commitment to swim in the Seine, confirmed, “You bet I will. I will do it. But I won’t give you the date, or you risk being there.”

Olympic open water and triathlon events are planned for the Seine during the Paris 2024 Games. However, the French nonprofit Surfrider has voiced concerns, citing high concentrations of enterococci and E. coli in some sections of the river.

Dr. Leon Davis, a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Events Management at Teesside University, emphasized the importance of the Seine’s condition for the games, noting, “The biggest issue will be the Seine, and whether it will be ready for the opening ceremony, especially as it will break tradition by not being held at the stadium.”

As the countdown to the Olympics continues, all eyes remain on the Seine, where Parisians prepare for a unique demonstration to make their voices heard.

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