"DEATH TO BANKERS" scream Paris walls as crisis looms

Wed Dec 7, 2011 10:20am EST
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By Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's politicians can drone on about solutions to the euro zone crisis as much as they like, but the popular sentiment is clearly spelled out on the streets of Paris: "DEATH TO BANKERS."

That message scrawled on a mail box in the fashionable Marais district of the French capital is part of a growing commentary cropping up on walls and streets, revealing deep-seated distrust and simmering disquiet as a euro zone crisis threatens to wreak yet more havoc with France's economy.

As France gets sucked deeper into the crisis, Paris is catching up with Athens, where bankruptcy woes and austerity measures have spurred waves of graffiti and the finger of blame is pointing firmly in one direction.

"Thanks, bankers, for the loss of a few more billions," says another scrawl near the Paris stock exchange.

Anger at budget cuts, concern over violent swings in financial markets and fear that the euro zone could disintegrate have all trickled down to the street level.

"Did you elect your banker?" read a stencil spray-painted on the seat of a public bench near the Bastille, a key target of the 18th century revolutionaries who chopped off the heads of a French elite that spent too much and paid too little heed to trouble brewing among the lower orders.

"Because the masses aren't productive enough, France will lose its triple-A," reads a sarcastic message on the side of the church which provided the religious tools needed for Louis XVI's last Mass before his execution at the guillotine in 1793.

That graffiti appeared this week as a warning on euro zone ratings by Standard & Poor's fanned fears that markets could put the single currency to the sword.   Continued...

<p>People walk on a graffiti message written on the pavement next to the former Bourse (Stock Exchange) in Paris December 7, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes</p>