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Insurrection

La Commune de Paris. Saturday, March 18, 1871 begins the insurrection that will lead, a week later, to the Paris Commune.

Thiers, the head of the Government, had been sending detachments of the regular army since 3 a.m. to surround the quarters of Paris where the arms and cannons were stored and recover them to full control. At 6 a.m., in a coup de grâce, on the hill of Montmartre they seize the artillery and then begin to take them away. At this point the National Guards and many women oppose them. The Parisians in the quarter insist that those cannons are theirs because they bought them with their subscriptions to defend Paris from the Prussians and they do not want to leave them to an army and a government that has signed the surrender. At 9 a.m. a few shots, the crowd backs away.

The soldiers of the regular army refuse to fire on the crowd and the National Guard, indeed they fraternize with them. The gendarmerie and cavalry have to retreat, the coup has failed, General Lacomte who was in command is captured by the rioters and executed by his soldiers. The same end for General Clément-Thomas, dressed as a bourgeois, recognized and captured in Place Pigalle.

The Parisians of the eastern districts of the city and of the Center rise up. The head of the government and his ministers leave Paris and move to Versailles.


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