Cantona’s call for revolution did not gain steam on D-Day Tuesday, selected by fans as remembrance of the number 7 jersey he wore at Old Trafford. The massive cash withdrawals did not materialise with only a handful of fans attempting a mass withdrawal.
According to the Guardian, Cantona had apparently contacted a local branch of his bank about a large withdrawal. The manager of BNP Paribas in Albert, a town on the Somme, said Cantona stopped by last week to say he intended to withdraw “more than €1,500″. However, he did not mention when or how much. The branch indicated that if Cantona did turn up, he would be dealt with like any other customer. There were no reports on whether Cantona did eventually attempt to withdraw any money.
In recent weeks Cantona has refused all interviews and expressing surprise at the reactions and interest generated after he told a paper in October to try to revolutionize the financial system.
Cantona did not organise Tuesday’s protest, but said last week that, given the level of support, he felt obliged to “go to the bank” himself. Le Figaro cited an unconfirmed report on the financial news site Wansquare saying he had moved €750,000 from an elite bank into Crédit Agricole. A Franco-Belgian anti-bank group that led online calls for the mass withdrawal said it had no figures on the outcome.
Meanwhile, a group of activists in Paris emptied their bank accounts on Tuesday. About a dozen activists from French anti-capitalist group “Save the Rich” marched in Paris on Tuesday and withdrew money from a branch of Société Générale. The protesters, dressed in yellow and black prisoners costumes or neon green wigs and boas, then opened accounts with a nearby branch of Credit Cooperatif bank.
One member, Maxime Hupel, turned up in a replica Manchester United kit. He said he backed Cantona’s stance but “didn’t want to destroy the bank system, just make it work better”.
Outside a BNP Paribas branch on Rue Rivoli, in central Paris, alongside beggars sat holding jam jars, customers were amused. “It’s not a bad idea, but it was never going to work, was it?” said Bernard Rond, 62, a retired ministry official. ” I’m paying off a mortgage, so I can’t just walk out with all my cash. If I could, I would.
“Cantona did reflect the mistrust of banks in France. But he’s far more popular in England than he is here. We know him more as an actor than a footballer now.”