On April 27, 1789, a riot broke out in the Saint-Antoine neighborhood. Workers from several Parisian neighborhoods besieged Jean-Baptiste Réveillon’s wallpaper factory, better known as the “Réveillon factory.” The rich entrepreneur had wanted to announce a decrease in the daily salary of his employees, which would have made it very difficult to survive. The Estates General had not yet started in Versailles, but already the Parisian population was rebelling in the name of inequality.
Having come to repress the rioters, a regiment of the French Guards fired into the crowd, injuring hundreds of people and killing more than 300 people, e.g. two times more than the number of victims during the storming of the Bastille, which would take place three months later. Several leaders were arrested and then executed in only 24 hours, as the law of the Ancien Régime permitted. The description of the injured victims transported to the Hôtel-Dieu on April 28th demonstrates the violence of the repression: “On a trestle bed, between beds 121 and 118: Injury to the head noted by Jean-Pierre Lambert, Internist. Pierre Augustin François Lot, dry goods and hardware store merchant, rue Basse-Porte Saint-Denis, Saint-Laurent neighborhood, c/o Mr. Delaunay, dry goods merchant; 21 years old (…) Bed 85. Injury to the lower right leg, in the ankle, caused by a bullet (…)”