Mini-revolutionaries storm the Bastille to celebrate

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The Independent Online

Even the rain that fell in Paris couldn't dampen the spirits of the 3,000 left-wing "no" supporters celebrating their victory in the referendum.

Even the rain that fell in Paris couldn't dampen the spirits of the 3,000 left-wing "no" supporters celebrating their victory in the referendum.

On the sparkling wet pavements of the capital's most famous avenue, the Champs Elysées, the reaction was one of subdued disappointment. In the scruffier, bohemian districts of eastern Paris,all-night street parties were declared.

The focal point of the celebrations was naturally the Place de la Bastille, where a mob stormed the eponymous prison 200 years ago and unleashed the revolution that transformed political systems and social values worldwide.

Celebrating what many regarded as a mini-revolution in its own right, students waved EU flags alongside posters of Che Guevara and chanted slogans. Across the street, members of the French Communist Party sold beer and cocktails and handed out raincoats emblazoned with their emblem.

A huge paella was cooked over a hastily constructed stove in front of the modern opera house, whilst older "no" supporters danced to chanson music.

Their protest may have been less dramatic than the revolution of 1789, but the feeling was that they had played a part in a momentous day all the same.

"This is a historic moment," said Tristan, a 30-year-old teacher. "It's the first step towards a Europe based on solidarity that protects people not markets." Monique, who is retired, said: "France will set an example for countries across Europe to unite together in the fight against neo-capitalism."

Members of the far right, who also supported a "no" vote, celebrated elsewhere.

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