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Caviar, Cognac Don't Sit Well With Parisian Job Protesters

December 20, 1987|Associated Press

PARIS — About 200 unemployed young people invaded one of the city's most luxurious gourmet stores Saturday to demand public assistance and jobs.

The protesters knocked over tins of imported Christmas cookies and threatened fragile jars of caviar in the century-old Fauchon on the Place Madeleine.

"They entered through all the doors at once. We thought we were under attack," said manager Rene Cordanie. "We represent wealth and these youngsters are Communists. What are you going to do?"

The protesters raced through the gourmet store, picking out expensive items and presenting cashiers with mock government certificates as payment.

"I wasn't scared, I was angry," said one store clerk, who recalled that the shop's produce department was attacked in 1970 by a Maoist group that later distributed stolen fruit in poor neighborhoods.

"We are here because Fauchon is a symbol, but the problem is real," said Gilles Perre, a spokesman for the Young Communists of France and the Young Unemployed of the Paris Region. "There's a bottle of Cognac in there that costs 10,000 francs (about $2,000), while those of us here have nothing."

The demonstrators later moved outside for a peaceful sit-in.

Fauchon and its neighbors, including furriers and jewelers, pulled their metal shutters tight for about an hour. Said one customer: "I don't know what they hope to show by stopping me from buying some nut preserves."

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