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Streetfilms' Elizabeth Press kicks off a series of videos about livable streets in Paris with this look at the city's two weekly romps on skates -- roller-versions of Critical Mass that attract up to 15,000 participants. Notice that the police are an essential part of the proceedings (and they seem to have fun doing it -- check out the cops on blades at the 1:35 mark).

Says Elizabeth:

Every Friday night and Sundayafternoon Parisians can take the streets and see their city on skates.And they do, by the thousands! Both mass rides, which are sponsored bydifferent associations, started small and now are institutions ofpublic street life in Paris.

In this video you hear from both Tanao Terra, VP of Pari Roller, organizers of the Friday night skate and Philippe Moulié, President of Rollers & Coquillages, sponsors of the Sunday afternoon Skate.

A little history: The Friday night skates were started by a smallgroup of friends. After the transit strikes in 1995, which forcedParisians to find a new way to get around town, thousands of peoplebegan to show up on Friday evenings just to practice moving through thecity on roller blades. The numbers inspired Pari Roller to form anofficial association working with Paris’, and the world’s, first rollerblade national police unit.

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