French lingerie shops send knickers to PM in Covid-19 lockdown protest
Underwear posted to Prime Minister Jean Castex to highlight plight of local shops
Protests in France often take the form of direct action - farmers are notorious for dumping all sorts of agricultural objects outside, and sometimes inside, local authority buildings - but lingerie store owners across the country have gone all-in with a twist on the traditional letter.
The mailroom at Matignon, the office of Prime Minister Jean Castex, will receive hundreds of items of lingerie in the next few days, from managers and owners upset that their small shops remain closed as they are considered 'non-essential' during the current period of partial confinement.
The shop owners have formed a collective, called Action Culottée, to coordinate their protest. Members have posted images of their letters and their contents on a dedicated Facebook page to highlight their 'humorous but above-all symbolic action'.
They hope it will 'alert people to the very critical situation experienced by hundreds of lingerie shops across the whole of France'.
The form letter opens with: "You will find enclosed with this letter an element of daily life considered non-essential by your government: knickers."
"Isn't it a question of hygiene and protection?" the shop owners ask.
"The truth is that we are ALL essential," they say. "Local commerce is precious" and "contributes to the local economy and sustains our communities. It strengthens the social fabric".
You can find a list of shops the French government considers essential here