With yellow flags and banners raised, the anti-nuclear protesters shouting “Nuclear equals cemetery” (which rhymes in French) outside of the historic Pantheon earlier this month were just one link along a city-wide human chain of demonstrators. The focus of the assembly was the controversial International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) nuclear fusion research center being built in France, and details on the project seemed scarce and the participants uninformed. SmartPlanet was there, listening for sounds of nuclear pioneers Pierre and Marie Curie, interred in the Pantheon a mere ten yards away, turning over in their graves.
French activist network Sortir du Nucléaire (Eliminate Nuclear) spearheaded the protest that attracted 4,000 people according to police, while organizers counted upwards of 20,000 participants. With different meeting points featuring speakers and specific focuses, the spot in front of the Pantheon was dedicated to the ITER project, something that few in France fully understand but that many oppose vehemently.