‘They burned my kiosk for fun’: Fund launched for Champs-Elysées newspaper sellers

'They burned my kiosk for fun': Fund launched for Champs-Elysées newspaper sellers
Flames rise from a newsstand set alight by protesters during clashes with riot police forces on the Champs-Elysees on March 16th. Photo: AFP
Several online funds have been set up to raise money for the news kiosk operators whose businesses were destroyed in the violence of Saturday's 'yellow vest' protests, including one by veteran France correspondent and The Local's columnist John Lichfield.
It wasn't only designer stores and upmarket restaurants that suffered during the burning and looting that took place on the Champs-Elysees this weekend. 
A total of nine news kiosks were also destroyed during Saturday's violence, leading to the creation of several funds to help the people who run them. 
British journalist John Lichfield, who has been covering the protests for The Local since they started in November, is one of those who has started an online fund to raise money to help the 'kiosquiers' which launched on Monday morning. 
“The idea was not mine originally,” Lichfield told The Local. “It was Tom Hayes, the head of the BEERG employment law organisation in Brussels, who suggested we should do something after I retweeted a Le Figaro article about a kiosquier whose livelihood was destroyed on Saturday.”
“I set up the cagnotte (fund) at 8.55am on Monday morning and the funds immediately started coming in. But there were nine kiosks destroyed in Paris so we need as much as possible,” he said, adding that he's doing it “out of solidarity for the people who make a hard living selling the printed press, an industry I joined in 1972.
“These attacks were an attack on the livelihood of people who are far from wealthy. But they were also attacks on the free press.”
Lichfield also spoke to the union of kiosk workers who he said are “very touched by the solidarity people are showing”, adding that they will share the money raised between all of the people whose businesses were attacked on Saturday.
José Russo, whose kiosk on the Champs Elysées was one of those burned, told Le Figaro he abandoned his kiosk just before it was set alight in yesterday's riots. 
“Why pick on a little businessman like me?” he said, adding that he earns €900 a month and blames an “insatiable appetite for destruction.”
Another 'kisoquier', Michelle who has a business on the Champs-Elysees said the protesters were “burning for fun!”
“When they burned it [the kiosk] down, I saw them. There was one who put his arms in the air. He was happy, it was burning,” she said.
At the time of writing John Lichfield had raised €1,000 with his fund. If you'd like to donate, you can do so here.

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