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2,000 Rally in Paris to Protest Planned Atomic Tests

August 07, 1995| From Reuters

PARIS — More than 100 environmental groups, left-wing parties and trade unions urged French people to use Sunday's 50th anniversary of the atomic attack on Hiroshima to protest France's decision to resume nuclear weapons tests.

But they failed to ignite mass indignation. About 2,000 people turned out at the main rally in Paris' Human Rights Square to demonstrate against President Jacques Chirac's policy, which has triggered worldwide protests.

About 400 attended an anti-nuclear rally in the northern city of Lille, and 250 demonstrated Saturday in Toulouse in the southwest.

"Public opinion is on holiday," a vendor at the Greenpeace stand lamented.

With the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, protesters made up for in color what they lacked in numbers, sporting "Stop Hiro-Chirac" T-shirts and rainbow banners urging the government to spend its billions on life, not death.

The most striking aspect of the rally, called by such major organizations as the Communist Party, the CGT trade union, the two main students unions, Greenpeace, the Greens, Friends of the Earth and several anti-racism groups, was its small size.

An opinion poll last week found 56% of French voters opposed Chirac's move to end a three-year freeze on underground explosions at France's South Pacific test site on Moruroa Atoll.

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