French cultural actors and organisations have protested after the government’s decision to leave venues such as theatres, cinemas and museums closed for another three weeks, at least until 7 January, despite lifting the second Covid-19 lockdown on Tuesday.
In France, 15 December marks the lifting of the six-week-long second lockdown. But cultural venues have been left out.
The decision provoked anger across the sector, with the CGT-spectacle union calling a demonstration at Paris’s Place de la Bastille on Tuesday.
Demonstrators chanted “open up theatres”, “open cinemas” and “lift the lockdown on culture”.
Several more rallies were planned across France. Protesters brandished placards reading “Culture, essential food”, “We’re going to die – and not even on stage” and “Art is a weapon of mass construction”.
“It’s a disaster, I haven’t worked for six months”, Martin, a 27-year-old casual entertainment worker, told AFP. “The theatres are also reluctant to take us on again because decisions are constantly changing. What is happening is a death sentence.”
“We want to be told when we can reopen; you can’t reopen a theatre at the drop of a hat,” said actor Christophe Alévêque. “This is a show of contempt towards the public — we’ve had to tell people there’s been a change of time, a change of date… We’ve been very patient, but now it has to stop.”
Sylvie, a retired costume designer, said she was “appalled by the government’s disdain for culture sector, which is constantly being relegated to the back burner”.
Trade unions and artists are to take the protest to France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, like representatives from the catering and ski sectors, in the hope of overturning the government’s decision.—AFP