Protests for homeless outside gutted Notre Dame

Demonstration comes after appeal to rebuild cathedral tops $1 billion

epa07521530 Tourists walks front of Notre Dame de Paris after a new smaller security area was applied by the French police in Paris, France, 22 April 2019. A fire started in the late afternoon 15 April in one of the most visited monuments of the French capital.  EPA/Julien de Rosa

Dozens of people protested outside of the gutted Notre Dame on Monday to demand that the homeless are not forgotten after donors pledged more than $1 billion to rebuild the cathedral.

Two billionaires have pledged hundreds of millions of euros for the reconstruction effort after fire destroyed the roof of the cathedral in the centre of Paris. Some 50 joined Monday’s protest to demand that money also be channelled to those sleeping rough.

After Easter Mass on Sunday, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit said authorities ought to rethink the island on the banks of the Seine that is home to the Notre Dame cathedral and “make a place for the poor."

The protest came as the French president, Emmanuel Macron, called for a more united European effort to preserve and protect architectural jewels of the continent.

He will invite EU culture and European ministers to Paris on May 3 to discuss creating a body to offer expert advice for buildings at risk, French EU Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin told Le Journal du Dimanche. The project could see nations share resources including fire-fighting planes in the event of the disaster, the minister said.

A 2015 study by the German engineering giant Siemens showed that Scotland had about 10 damaging fires a year, while England lost at least a dozen listed buildings a year. Germany has seen 70 such buildings destroyed since 2000. 
The EU itself has allotted 4.7 billion euros ($5.28 billion) for restorations in the 2014-2020 financial budget on top of what individual nations do.