Fair workers block Paris plaza to save giant Ferris wheel
Posted November 24
PARIS — Carnival workers claimed victory after blocking a central Paris interchange Thursday to protest government orders to remove a giant Ferris wheel offering spectacular views of the city.
About 100 workers parked dozens of large trucks on the Place de la Concorde beneath the "Roue de Paris" amusement park ride. The surprise demonstration blocked traffic through a crowded intersection between the Champs-Elysees and the Tuileries Gardens.
The protest appeared to have worked: Within a couple of hours, wheel owner Marcel Campion told reporters that he had received a letter from the Culture Ministry allowing the ride to stay open.
Police peacefully cleared the demonstrators, and tourists lined up to board the ride.
The Culture Ministry had reportedly ordered Campion to remove the wheel for administrative and cultural preservation reasons. Carnival workers' unions rallied around his cause, complaining of discrimination against their mass-market rides in the one of Paris' most historical neighborhoods.
"I've been here with my giant wheel for 23 years, every year. And suddenly it's as if the state just found out I am here," Campion said. He did not explain details of how the dispute was settled.
The ministry did not immediately comment on the protest.