The Yellow Vests are back in the street this Saturday, for Act X, in full context of the Great National Debate. Objective: to gather a million people in Paris.
The “yellow vests” parade for the tenth time in the street Saturday and their mobilisation will be particularly scrutinised, a few days after the launch by Emmanuel Macron of the “national debate” supposed to channel the unseen anger expressed for two months.
Will Act X confirm the rebound of the challenge? More than 80,000 people were counted last Saturday, according to the Interior Ministry. Much more than the 50,000 demonstrators counted the previous week, without reaching the hundreds of thousands gathered in November or December.
“The million in Paris! “
In Paris, “yellow vests” which Éric Drouet, one of their best known voices, have made an appointment at the Place des Invalides around 11 am with an ambition: “The million in Paris! “. Friday night, the most followed event on Facebook, however, sketched out a more modest procession, with 4000 participants announced and 28 000 people interested.
Several rallies are also announced Saturday afternoon in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, St. Etienne, Roanne, Valence, Clermont-Ferrand, Montelimar, Dijon, Nevers, Montceau-les-Mines, Toulon, Avignon or Beziers.
On Facebook, the Toulouse gathering advocates an “operation surpluses”. Objective: to come “with two friends who have never come before”. Same ambition in Marseille: “We want it to continue, we manage to get out of the world that does not usually go out to demonstrate,” told AFP Luc Benedetti, a “yellow vest” of the city.
Polemic about police violence
The executive provides him “a device of comparable magnitude to the previous weekend (…) everywhere in the country,” said Secretary of State for the Interior, Laurent Nuñez. Around 80,000 police and gendarmes must therefore be mobilised in France. They will be 5000 in Paris, according to the police prefecture.
In the capital, organisers invite participants to bring “a flower or a candle in tribute” to those killed or wounded “for their cause” since the beginning of the movement on 17th November
This slogan, new for a gathering in the capital, punctuates a week marked by a heated controversy over the use of the launcher of Defense Ball (LBD) by the police and serious injuries suffered by many demonstrators.
Christophe Castaner defended Friday its use during law enforcement operations. Without this weapon, the police would have no option but “physical contact” and there would be “many more wounded,” said the Minister of the Interior.
He also said he was “stunned” by accusations of police violence, despite some videos showing LBD use without immediate threat to the shooter.
After the roundabouts, the debate?
Beyond the rallies planned Saturday, the mobilisation must continue Sunday in several cities.
Women “yellow vests” call for a demonstration in Paris, inspired by the peaceful event they had already organised on January 6th. Self-entrepreneur Priscillia Ludosky, initiator of the movement that has publicly distanced herself from Eric Drouet, promotes the event on Facebook and seems willing to participate.
Sunday will also see the arrival of a “yellow vest” less known in the capital: José Manrubia. Party of Arles (Bouches-du-Rhone) December 16, this visual artist rallied Paris on foot after 34 days of walking, during which he crossed “more than 50 roundabouts”.
For him, despite the great debate launched by Emmanuel Macron, no question of disarming without the introduction of the citizens’ initiative referendum (RIC).
“This is the main claim for 90% of the roundabouts,” he says. “After 40 years of a right-wing or a left-wing policy in which private interests have prevailed over the general interest, we want to be able to take charge of our destiny. ”
Reluctant to this claim, the Head of State favours the “national debate” he launched this week with two trips to the regions. Purchasing power, taxation, democracy and environment: with these themes, the president hopes to respond to all the discontent.