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Cantona's scheme to create a run on the global banking system fails

Ex-soccer star Eric Cantona's plan for people to withdraw all their money from banks has failed. By the time French banks closed on Tuesday, very few appeared to have followed his call.

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona, ex-football player and successful actor

Tens of thousands of people heard the call by former French footballer Eric Cantona to bring down the banking system that sparked the global economic crisis - but few acted on it on Tuesday, the day Cantona suggested his anti-capitalist revolution should begin.

The protests were few, isolated and largely symbolic. One group of activists in Paris emptied their bank accounts from a branch of Societe Generale and opened accounts at the nearby branch of a cooperative bank. But in general, it was business as usual in France's banking institutions.

people dressed in costumes stand in front of bank, photographed by the media

Protests were few and far between

Cantona, now a successful actor and an icon to many, had appealed to people to withdraw their money from the banks in an attempt to punish the "corrupt, criminal" banking system.

"The three million people in the street, they go to the bank, withdraw their money, and the banks collapse... That's a real threat, there's a real revolution," the ex-football star said in an online video watched by tens of thousands of people in France and beyond.

Naive and misguided

French and European politicians and bankers condemned Cantona's philosophizing on the future of the banking sector as irresponsible.

His calls for mass bank withdrawals met with sharp criticism from the French finance minister. Christine Lagarde said Cantona should stop "intervening in finance and economics, especially when he doesn't fully understand the mechanics of it."

The head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, called the scheme "irresponsible" and EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said: "I think Mr Cantona is a better footballer than he is an economist."

Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (AFP/AP/dpa)
Editor: Susan Houlton

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