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“Anti-racist ball” for Aya Nakamura, demonstration against gentrification: the Olympics are already setting Paris ablaze

Four months before the Olympics, pressure is mounting in the streets of Paris: there are those who sing Aya Nakamura, expected to host the opening ceremony, in front of the RN headquarters and those who warn about the fate of people at the street by making the statues speak.

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“Anti-racist ball” for Aya Nakamura, demonstration against gentrification: the Olympics are already setting Paris ablaze

Four months before the Olympics, pressure is mounting in the streets of Paris: there are those who sing Aya Nakamura, expected to host the opening ceremony, in front of the RN headquarters and those who warn about the fate of people at the street by making the statues speak. Activists from SOS Racisme organized an “anti-racist ball” on Sunday under the windows of the National Rally to protest against Marine Le Pen's comments regarding the possible participation of Aya Nakamura in the opening ceremony on July 26.

The most listened to French-speaking singer in the world since Djadja, in 2018, has been the subject of racist attacks since the announcement, at the end of February by L'Express, that she could perform songs by Edith Piaf during the ceremony . The president of the RN deputies, Marine Le Pen, opposed such a perspective by accusing President Emmanuel Macron of wanting to “divide” and “humiliate” the French. She had cited “her outfit”, “her vulgarity”, or even the fact “that she does not sing French”.

Also read: Aya Nakamura at the Olympics: Marine Le Pen sees it as an attempt to “humiliate the French people”

In response, around twenty anti-racist activists danced to the sound of hits by the Franco-Malian and Edith Piaf, broadcast at full blast in front of the party's closed-door headquarters, noted an AFP journalist. “We are preparing to welcome the whole world for the Olympic Games and we are having a controversy because our greatest French-speaking artist, some want to send her back symbolically – and not perhaps only symbolically – to Bamako,” said lamented the president of SOS Racisme, Dominique Sopo.

At midday, other associations alerted for their part about the fate of people on the streets, as they have already been doing for several months by denouncing the forced expulsions of precarious populations (homeless people, migrants in camps, workers sex...) as the Games approach. Activists “made several statues speak” with messages such as “social cleansing as a legacy,” explained Paul Alauzy, spokesperson for Revers de la Medal, a collective bringing together some 80 associations and NGOs.

Facing the Senate, they then symbolically launched “a first test” of the Olympics, by throwing buoys representing the Olympic rings into the pool of the Luxembourg gardens, noted an AFP journalist. Launched with colored smoke bombs, they carried, they explained, the “ills of the Olympics” (expulsions, harassment, etc.). Four months before the Olympics, “3,500 people are sleeping in the streets and a thousand in gymnasiums” in Paris, the collective underlined. “We must take care of them so that the celebration is dignified and beautiful for everyone.”

In Dugny (Seine-Saint-Denis), in front of the Olympic Media Village which is due to open its doors on Monday, between 60 and 70 environmentalists and housing rights activists (DAL) in particular protested against the gentrification and concreting which affect the areas around the Olympic sites at the call of the Youth for climate collective.

Less militant note: in this Olympic year, the capital also saw the return of the famous waiters' race, not organized since 2011 due to lack of sponsor. The winners of the event, played in front of stunned tourists and strolling families, are invited to the opening ceremony.

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