Sun tanning by the Seine, Source: Unsplash

What’s behind the ‘poo in the Seine’ threat campaign in Paris?

What’s behind the ‘poo in the Seine’ threat campaign in Paris?

23 June is fast approaching but let’s hope no one makes good on that despite the slumping popularity of politicians

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and even the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, have made a promise to publicly swim in the Seine as a way to show the global community that the urban river had been cleaned well enough to be a bathing spot. Parallel to that, however, the Parisian grassroots have organized a social media campaign under the #JeChieDansLaSeineLe23Juin hashtag, which translates to ‘I poop in the Seine on 23 June’. Wait, what?

That’s rather surprising given that the French capital is preparing to host the world’s largest sporting event, which only happens once every four years – the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Now, why would so many residents of the host city want to sabotage this and literally soil the image of their city?

The reason might be hard to explain to most of the world, but to many French people it makes sense as a form of satire and a way to express

Protest against the authorities

And protesting against the authorities is as French as baguettes and camembert. The political situation in the country is once again rather shaky after President Macron announced snap elections following the disastrous performance of his centrist Renaissance party at the recent European elections.

But the reason for the unusual ‘poop in the Seine’ campaign predates the 9 June elections and according to experts, reflects the dissatisfaction of the masses with the massive cost of cleaning up of the urban river. These 1.4 billion euros invested since 2016 for the purpose could have been used for social benefits, or for improving the public transport system, which regularly suffers breakdowns due to strikes.

Additionally, the campaign may seek to show that not all French stand behind the Olympics, as the expectation is that it will lead to overcrowding in the city during the summer and many people will have to work on holidays, which are rather sacred in the social calendar.

Worst of all, according to recent measurements the Seine is still not considered safe enough to swim despite all the effort and money that has been put in to make the river a viable leisure spot for Parisians.

Either way, 23 June is fast approaching, and it promises to be a spectacle no matter what happens.



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