A police cordon was set up to guard the Elysee Palace in Paris, on Wednesday (20 November), against the most expensively dressed demonstrators the pity has seen for years.
A police cordon was set up to guard the Elysee Palace in Paris, on Wednesday (20 November), against the most expensively dressed demonstrators the pity has seen for years. The protestors were 450 French mayors and deputy mayors who oppose the transfer of the administrative centre of the Var Department from Draguignan to Toulon.
At one point the mainly middle-aged politicians broke through the police cordon with a spirited charge in an attempt to reach the Elysee Palace. But when they reached the Palace gates they found them closed.
Later a delegation was received by a member of President Giscard D'Estaing's staff.
The mayors and deputy mayors represented 144 of the 153 municipalities of the Var Department, which includes the popular Mediterranean holiday resort of St. Tropez.
The Government had decreed that the administration be transfered from the preset 170-year old regional capital of Draguignan to the port of Toulon. The transfer is unprecedented since the days of Napoleon III.
Monsieur Jacques Chirac, the French Prime Minister, has said that the transfer is justified because it is "in the interest of the Department". However, the municipal leaders have described it as a "death sentence" on Draguignan. They have contested the Government's decision before the Council of State, which can act as a court of appeal.
SYNOPSIS: Paris experienced one of the most distinguished demonstrations ever to take place in the French capital, when four hundred and fifty mayors and deputy mayors marched through the streets on Wednesday to the Elysee Palace. They wee protesting at the transfer of administration of the Var Department from the regional capital of Draguignan to the Port of Toulon.
Although they managed to reach the Ministry of the Interior, a police cordon tried to prevent them reaching the Elysee. Later a delegation was to meet an official of President Giscard D'Estaing's staff. The leaders of the hundred-and-fifty-three municipalities say the transfer is a "death sentence" for Draguignan. At ont point in the demonstration, the mainly middle-aged politicians burst through the police cordon towards the Palace gates, but they were closed.