June 10, 2003

HERE’S STILL MORE FROM INSTAPUNDIT PARIS CORRESPONDENT CLAIRE BERLINSKI:

I just went out and asked the cops who are busy searching vehicles as they enter the Palais de Justice — pretty thoroughly from the looks of it — what precisely they were looking for, and what the helicopters were all about. To my surprise, they told me that it had nothing to do with the strikes. It’s all about the Elf trial. Your readers may know that French prosecutors are trying to put the former president of Elf away for a good long time. The charge is that the former president, the marvellously-named Loik Le Floch-Prigent, conspired with his buddies to run a vast corruption network that bankrolled countless French politicians and unsavory African leaders. Key search terms: slush funds, suitcases full of cash, millions of francs worth of jewelry, lavishly-appointed villas, and, of course, Jacques Chirac. One of the defendants, Andre Guelfi, is known — I am not kidding — as “Dede the Sardine.” Apparently, there are some people out there who do not want Le Floch-Prigent and Dede the Sardine to meet their just desserts. There have been highly credible threats against the Palais de Justice, which is right outside my door, hence the choppers right above my head. The alert is due to last until mid-July. Here’s a link to the story: Pure, delicious sleazefest, Instapundit readers; enjoy:

Link [Covered on Instapundit here]

Bill just sent me this: Link. It seems things got really ugly at the Place de la Concorde a few hours ago when the demonstrations against the pension reform scheme turned, yet again, violent. Masked demonstrators barricaded the street, set dustbins on fire, and then launched bottles, sticks and rocks at the police. One of those rocks connected with some poor photographer’s head. He’s been taken to the hospital, but evidently he’ll probably be okay . The police had to evacuate the area with teargas grenades and water cannons. Hence the sirens.

I’ll let you know if anything else happens. All of this is, of course, playing havoc with my afternoon nap schedule.

I can imagine. Thanks, Claire! Readers who appreciate this reportage should consider buying her novel, Loose Lips, which will be out next week.

UPDATE: MerdeinFrance has more.

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