John Lichfield to hand over €13k raised for Paris kiosk owners hit by yellow vest violence

The Local France
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John Lichfield to hand over €13k raised for Paris kiosk owners hit by yellow vest violence
A total of nine kiosks were destroyed on the Champs-Elysées. Photo: AFP

The Local's columnist John Lichfield is to hand over €13,000 from a fund he set up to help raise money for the owners of the Paris kiosks that were burned out during "yellow vest" protests.


The shocking violence that engulfed the Champs-Elysées earlier this month was largely targeted at the expensive designer boutiques, but nine of Paris' iconic news kiosks were also destroyed.  
The kiosquiers are generally sole traders who don't make a great deal of money. Although the city of Paris is responsible for replacing the kiosks, the kiosquiers were responsible for replacing their destroyed stock, and faced a way of several weeks before they could start trading again.
John Lichfield is a British journalist living in France, and writes a regular column for The Local.
So France-based British journalist, and columnist for The Local, John Lichfield began a fund to help them out.
Originally intended as a small fund to make a few hundred euro each for the affected traders, the idea snowballed and picked up support from around the globe.
In just two weeks, he has raised €13,559 and had donations from the US, Britain, France, Scandinavia, Germany and Italy. 
He said: "I must say I never expected so much interest or so much generosity from all over the world. The messages posted on the site suggest there is a lot of love out there for the kiosquiers as a characteristic part of the Paris scene but also for Paris itself and for France. "  
He will now be going to a donor's conference in Paris on Tuesday to hand over the money to the kiosquiers' union, to be distributed among their members who are in need.
Nelly Todde is vice-president of the Syndicat des kiosquiers and has worked at the kiosk on the Boulevard St Germain in the Latin Quarter for the past 32 years.
One of the burned-out kiosks on the Champs-Elysées. Photo: AFP
She said: "We're delighted that all these funds were raised on behalf of all the kiosks, it happened very spontaneously. We thought it was extraordinary that people abroad were interested by what was happening in Paris.
"I think people felt concerned and were touched by what was happening in Paris. They know that kiosquiers don't have many means, and they know how difficult things are for the press all over the world.
"But also what kiosquiers represent historically: these tiny shops that are part of Paris' charm. I think everyone loves the kiosks in Paris.
"If they go, Paris also loses part of its charm."
José Russo, whose kiosk on the Champs Elysées was one of those burned, told French newspaper Le Figaro that he abandoned his kiosk just before it was set alight in the riots on March 16. 
"Why pick on a little businessman like me?" he said, adding that he earns €900 a month and blames an "insatiable appetite for destruction."
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has also announced an aid fund of €1.5 million for anyone whose business has been damaged during the weeks of "yellow vest" protests. 



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