Yesterday afternoon the Mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, other elected representatives, the Croix-Rouge française and the people of Strasbourg joined the Counseileur-Gènèral from the Japanese Consulat in Strasbourg to stand together in solidarity with the people of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami that happened earlier this month. The first picture shows the Senator and Mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, speaking just before there was a minutes silence. To his right is Jean-Jacques Gsell the Parti Socialiste candidate for Strasbourg canton 2. After the Mayor Armand Perego,the president of the regional delegation of the Croix-Rouge talked about what they were doing locally and in Japan to help the people who were the victims of the earthquakes and tsunami, including the 86 teams deployed by the Red-Cross Japan and the assistance provided by the organisation to the more than 300,000 people who have been evacuated. He also said that they had raised more than 25,000 Euros locally which had already been transferred to the Red Cross Japan.
The representative of the Japanese government thanked Strasbourg Council who had voted 20,000 Euros of help to be sent via the Red-Cross to the people of Japan and for organising this display of solidarity with the people of Japan in the heart of the city.
A large cheque for 5,300 Euros was then presented by the local representative of the Croix-Rouge to the representative of the Japanese government. In this picture the person with the blonde pony tail and the black coat with the green pattern is the candidate for Europe Écologie for Strasbourg canton 2 also; so both candidates for the run-off today took time out from campaigning to show solidarity with the people of Japan.
There was a very good turn out of people from Strasbourg despite it trying to rain whilst we were there. After the speeches a Japanese poem was read out by a Japanese student studying at the university and then two musicians originating from Japan who play with the Strasbourg Symphony Orchestra played Back on violin and Cello.
At the same time as the gathering to show solidarity with the people of Japan, actually on the other side of the statue of Jean Baptiste Kléber there was a gathering in solidarity with the people of Libya with most of the people gathering carrying flags from the Parti communiste français or the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, both of who oppose the action for the no-fly zone in Libya. This woman’s placard read, “No to the intervention by the imperialist powers in Libya, it’s not imperialism which can bring freedom and democracy to the people of Libya.” As in previous weeks there was a banner against the plinth of the statue calling for a democratic Libya and for “Gadhafi Degage.” The woman in the picture on the left had come in what is clearly her protest outfit including a crash helmet with a loudhailer attached to the top of it. Her message was, “A war to save lives?” It was interesting that the message from the people gathered around the statue was one of opposition to what is happening in Lybia whilst next to the banner was a young man who could have been of Libyan origin with a sign thanking France and the United Nations.