Paris Anti-Racism Rock Concert Draws Thousands
Several hundred thousand French, mostly young people, crammed into famed Place de la Concorde in the center of Paris until the early hours of Sunday for a rock concert and mass demonstration against racism in French society.
Such foreign entertainers as Steel Pulse and Murray Head joined French groups from 6 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday before the clapping, cheering and dancing crowd that overflowed the enormous plaza. French television news accounts accepted the estimate of the organizers that 300,000 showed up at one time or another.
The music was interspersed with statements that deplored racism, decried attacks on immigrants and underlined the importance of immigrants and the children of immigrants in French life.
The event was a dramatic confirmation of the success of a movement that cropped up eight months ago in reaction to signs that racism and anti-immigrant attacks were again on the increase in France.
The movement is so popular that its badge--showing a hand signaling stop, with the legend, “Don’t Touch My Buddy"--is now a chic item for fashionable, educated, young French to wear.
The 3.7 million foreigners and 1.4 million naturalized citizens in France, according to 1982 counts, are widely looked on by French as a problem, especially in the present era of high unemployment.