The confinement awakens the anger of small French businesses

In confined France, booksellers have taken the lead in the revolt of small businesses against the giants of online sales, unfairly advantaged in the health crisis. This Canadian correspondent of the newspaper The duty recognizes their significant nuisance power and recalls some historical precedents.

“There is someone ?

– Yes, I am here”, Patricia Menay answers, hidden behind a stack of books.

In Montmartre, the tiny Anima bookstore is only 25 m2. You barely walk between the poetry collections that rise in a heap in the middle of the square. Since the re-containment, the bookseller has been responding to customers in the small rue Ravignan, where regulars come to pick up their orders without entering the bookstore. The tourists who frequented this district located close to the famous Bateau-Lavoir have now disappeared.

“By what right do our leaders tell us that the book is not an essential product? I fear that they are a little disconnected from our daily life. We just want to work ”, she says. Like thousands of other small traders, Patricia Menay is trying somehow to survive this new confinement, which should continue until December 2 and which affects 200,000 small businesses whose products are deemed “non-essential”.

For two weeks, booksellers have taken the leadership of a protest movement that continues to expand. In Cannes, the Autour d’un livre bookstore had to be evacuated twice after refusing to lower its storefront. Supported by the mayor and a collective of writers, its owner, Florence Kammermann, risks six months in prison and a 3,500 euro fine. In Paris, writers Sylvain Tesson, Nancy Huston and Chloé Delaume also denounced the closure of bookstores.

“We still have not understood why a small business which respects sanitary measures would be more contaminating than a large surface”, says Lionel Saugues, vice-president of the French Federation of Merchants’ Associations and of the Confederation of Merchants of France, which oversees 19 professional organizations bringing together 450,000 businesses and nearly one million employees. Because the book is not the only one involved. After Lyon and Biarritz, on Monday, there were nearly a thousand traders in the


Christian Roux

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Henri Bourassa published in 1910 the first number of Duty, by promising to turn it into an “opinion” and “exchange of ideas” journal to revive the nationalist fiber of French Canadians. Today the


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