At an electricity substation on a bleak industrial estate north of Paris a masked union militant is preparing to deprive a neighbourhood of power.Direct action is what we get:
His colleague is outside, dragging nervously on a roll-up cigarette while keeping a lookout for police or security guards. "Get a move on," he says. "And then let's get out of here."
A switch is pulled down, the door of the sabotaged transformer is locked and the two activists — employees of EDF, the French state electricity supplier — drive off.
In their wake hundreds of houses and a handful of businesses in Montigny-lès-Cormeilles are left without electricity for much of the morning.
Last Thursday 66,500 EDF customers lost their electricity supply, some for several hours. In Douai, northern France, two patients in intensive care had to be moved when a hospital lost power for 40 minutes.Remind me about the left's "respecting, nurturing, tolerant, non-violent, struggling to make sure all points of view are debated in an open, inviting and oh so much more caring environment than you selfish, greedy, capitalistic bastards" routine again?
In the Paris region the Grand-Val shopping centre suffered the same fate. "We had to turn away customers from all 48 shops," Félix Crespo, a technical manager at the centre, said.
The power cuts have continued. In Montigny-lès-Cormeilles the saboteurs took action against EDF offices and several hundred homes were affected. A home-help assistant said: "I look after a 92-year-old woman and this sort of thing means she hasn't got a proper meal because there was nothing to cook it with."