“Yellow Vests”: Nearly 283,000 Protesters Yesterday, Still Blockages Today

General News
Yellow vests block traffic on the A13 motorway on November 17, 2018, in Dozulé, Calvados. (© AFP / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU)

After the mobilisation of yesterday, blockages orchestrated by the yellow jackets continue in France this Sunday. And some movements are going to last.

Nearly 283,000 “yellow vests” protested Saturday across the country against the rise in fuel taxes and the decline in purchasing power, in 2,000 rallies sometimes tense resulting in accidents causing a death and 227 wounded.

Seven people are seriously injured , including a police officer, the Interior Ministry said at a press conference. In the early evening, more than 200 blocking points had not yet been raised and demonstrators were still present on more than 1,400 meeting places.

“Yellow jackets, black rage,” “Jupiter, back down to earth is misery”: the art demonstrators, who sometimes wore a message on their vests, blocked highways, roundabouts, hypermarkets or organised operations free toll in the whole country.

"Yellow Vests": the day of protest.
“Yellow Vests”: the day of protest. (© AFP / Sabrina BLANCHARD)

A total of 282,710 people participated in the protests, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

The “yellow vests” did not succeed in blocking France, as they wanted, but the whole territory was touched by their actions, which represents a certain success for this movement, starting from social networks and organized outside the political parties and trade unions.

Night on the dams

Protesters announced that they planned to camp and spend the night on their roadblocks. Access to some highways remained cut or difficult in the early evening.

“If tomorrow we have to continue we will continue. And Monday, we will continue if he did not understand, “warned Fred, one of the spokesmen of the movement in Millau.

In Paris , “yellow vests” went down the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to converge on the Elysée Palace. After several hours of tension between protesters and police in the presidential palace district – where gates were overthrown and the police used tear gas – the majority of the “yellow vests” dispersed.

Some Yellow Vests do not lack imagination.
Some Yellow Vests do not lack imagination. (© Côté Manche – Vincent Giard)

“The difference between my gross and my net is 1000 euros, that’s why I’m here today,” said among the protesters Valentine, 24, intermittent show that lives in Seine-Saint-Denis. “Today we work to survive, more to live,” said Amandine, 35, a maternal assistant.

There were 117 arrests in France , followed by 73 police custody , according to the Ministry of the Interior.

The authorities were worried about the continuation of the movement despite the night.

“The demonstrations, today a good kid, tonight are transformed with the arrival of thugs,” said Richard Lizurey, director general of the National Gendarmerie, stating that Molotov cocktails were thrown against the police.

And “at night, the danger is to be hit by a vehicle,” he said while 5,000 patrols were mobilized until Sunday morning.

“Outward sign of poverty”

At the initiative of this anger, members of the civil society mobilized against rising fuel prices before the grounds of grievance widened to a more comprehensive denunciation of the government’s policy on taxation and the decline in purchasing power.

As of the 1st January, 2019, taxes on diesel should increase by 6.5 cents per liter and those on gasoline by 2.9 cents.

President Emmanuel Macron lost in November another 4 points of popularity, at the lowest 25%, according to an Ifop poll published in Le Journal du Dimanche.

For the political scientist Jean-Marie Pernot, researcher at the Institute of Economic and Social Research (Ires), the mobilisation of “yellow vests” is a “success of participation”.“We’ll see what they invent to keep up the pressure.”

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