No, I’m not making this up.
In exactly a week’s time, in a supermarket somewhere in or around Paris, a couple of dozen young French activists are going to choose an aisle, unfold tables, put on some music and, taking what they want from the shelves, start a little picnic. The group “L’Appel et la Pioche” (The call and the pick axe) will have struck again – fruit and veg, dairy or the fish counter will have been transformed into a flash protest against global capitalism, rampant consumerism, bank bail-outs, poor housing, expensive food, profit margins and pretty much everything else that is wrong in the world.
The “supermarket picnic” will go on for as long as it can – before the security guards throw the activists out or the police arrive. Shoppers will be invited to join in, either bringing what they want from the shelves or just taking something lifted lightly from among the crisps, sweets or quality fruit already on the tables.
“L’Appel et la Pioche” have struck four times so far and have no intention of stopping what they claim is a highly effective new way of protesting.
“Everyone is bored of demonstrations. And handing out tracts at 6am at a market is neither effective nor fun,” said LeÃ¯la ChaÃ¯bi, 26, the leader of the group. “This is fun, festive, non-threatening and attracts the media. It’s the perfect way of getting our message across.”
Linked to a new left-wing political party committed to a renewal of politics and activism, ChaÃ¯bi’s group represents more than just a radical fringe and has been gaining nationwide attention.