Are French people joking about staging a disgusting protest in the Seine River?

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun16,2024
Key Points
  • Parisians have timed the “protest action” for when politicians are expected to be swimming in the River Seine.
  • French people have taken to social media to discuss a unique but unsanitary protest planned for 23 June.
  • Open water events for the 2024 Olympics are planned for the polluted river after swimming was banned for a century.
, but the latest French protest action may have some sitting down.
‘Je Chie Dans La Seine Le 23 Juin’ is the hashtag being spread on social media to encourage Parisians to join the campaign.
Proving that not everything, these words translate as ‘I Sh-t in the Seine June 23’.
Swimming in the Seine River has been illegal since 1923, but in the lead-up to the , the French government committed to a $1.5 billion clean-up of the waterway so it could be used for open water events including the swimming legs of triathlons and paratriathlons.

Earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters he would swim in the river to prove it was safe to do so.

“I’ll do it, but I won’t give you the date. You all risk being there,” he reportedly told media.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has since promised to swim in the famous waterway on 23 June, ahead of the Games starting on 26 July.
A website using the hashtag as its name specifically mentions Macron and Hidalgo and states: “After putting us in sh-t it’s up to them to bathe in our sh-t.”
As well as scepticism over how safe the water in the city’s river is to swim in, Parisians have some other concerns about Olympic events being held there.
Holding the opening ceremony along the Seine has raised security concerns for some. There are also concerns about the city’s transport network’s ability to cope.
Some have questioned the money being spent on the sporting event in the face of the poverty experienced in Paris’ poorer communities, such as L’Île-Saint-Denis — which is contained entirely on an island of the Seine.

Olympics organisers have argued holding events in the area has allowed investment to be directed towards such communities.

Emmanuel Macron on a boat with security officers and others in suits on the River Seine.

French President Emmanuel Macron supported the 2017 bid for Paris to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and his government committed to cleaning up the polluted Seine River. Source: Getty / AFP

The European branch of the Surfrider Foundation has been testing samples of water taken from the Seine for more than six months.

The organisation, which focuses on the health of European waterways, has been sceptical about whether the river could be remediated in time for the Olympics.

On its website, it says athletes will “risk having to compete in the polluted waters of the Seine”.
The organisation has said that of the 14 samples taken from the section of the river where the triathlon, marathon swimming and paratriathlon events will be held, just one of those samples was considered “satisfactory”.
The remaining samples were found to contain E. coli and enterococci, which Surfrider Foundation described as “intestinal bacteria and formidable indicators of pollution of faecal origin”.
The organisation said: “The athletes who will be taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic events planned for the Seine will be swimming in polluted water and taking significant risks to their health.”

SBS has contacted those behind the Je Chie Dans La Seine Le 23 Juin website.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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