Paris "free cash" publicity stunt turns ugly
A publicity stunt involving envelopes of cash thrown at pedestrians from the top of a Paris bus turned ugly after it was canceled for security reasons. Youths angry at losing out on fast cash smashed shop windows and overturned cars.
REUTERS - An Internet company that planned to throw envelopes of cash to passers-by from the top of a bus in Paris had to cancel the publicity stunt for security reasons after thousands of people turned up, police said on Saturday.
About 5,000 people gathered near the Eiffel Tower, with groups spilling into neighbouring streets and bursting through crowd barriers before the planned handout of banknotes by the online marketing company Mailorama.fr.
"Given the serious traffic problems noted in the Champ de Mars area and significant crowd movements, the police requested the organisers not to go ahead with this distribution of money," a police spokesman said.
Some people had waited for hours for the cash handout, which had been heavily promoted beforehand and the cancellation triggered ugly scenes with shop windows smashed and at least one car overturned.
Police in riot gear were called in and there were around 10 arrests.
"We couldn't anticipate that there would be so many people," Stephane Boukris, a spokesman for the organisers told France Info radio.