Paris, Toulouse, Marseille, Pontivy … For the third month of mobilisation, Yellow Vests are back in the street for act 14, Saturday 16th February
Three months of demonstrations , a movement still scattered and a beginning of weariness that wins the opinion: for their act 14, the “yellow vests” want to act everywhere on Saturday but also Sunday with means of action and words of action sometimes different.
The figures of the government, which identified 51,400 demonstrators in France in Act 13, sketch a decline in mobilisation in recent weeks. A weakening however challenged by the movement, which concedes only a stagnation of its forces by claiming the presence of 118,000 protesters last Saturday.
Popular support in decline
Launched on November 17th, this unprecedented protest also saw the broad popular support it enjoyed crumbling: for the first time, a majority of French (56%) want the mobilisation to stop, according to an Elabe poll released Wednesday.
And almost two-thirds of those surveyed (64%) believe that the weekly demonstrations “have moved away from the movement’s initial demands”, centered in particular on purchasing power, direct democracy and fuel prices.
Despite these signs of fatigue, many “yellow vests” do not want to “let go” after a week when two figures of the movement, the road driver Eric Drouet and former boxer Christophe Dettinger, appeared in court in Paris.
A month in prison suspended was required against the first Friday to organise undeclared event while the second was sentenced Wednesday to a firm year, suitable for semi-liberty, for violently striking two gendarmes during the act 8 in Paris.
“Insurrection” or “peaceful protest”?
On the other hand, the modalities of action are the subject of much debate, within a protean movement that has weakened the executive and forced it to make concessions and to launch a big debate to try to emerge from the crisis .
In Paris, the mobilisation must spread over the entire weekend to mark Sunday the third month, day to day, the movement.
Saturday, an event widely followed on Facebook calls for “insurrections” and “block the place of the Star as long as possible.”
Another event, even more popular on the social network, gives him rendezvous on Sunday at the same place, for a “declared and peaceful” demonstration which must march essentially on the left bank.
The historical figures of the movement are themselves rather discreet about their intentions including Eric Drouet, one of the initiators of the first mobilisation of 17th November.
“On each of the two days, informal gatherings and the constitution of wild processions can not be excluded,” warns the police headquarters of Paris, which promises a “consequent device” to secure the capital.
As in the previous Saturdays, Act 13 was marked by incidents, notably in the National Assembly, where a protester had his hand torn off during clashes with the police, maintaining the controversy over the violence. police.
“The demonstrations of violence (during the demonstrations) must stop,” urged Wednesday the head of state Emmanuel Macron, whose processions regularly claim the resignation. His wife Brigitte called on Friday to “reconciliation”.
Reinvest the roundabouts
In Bordeaux and Toulouse , other strongholds of the protest, rallies are planned early Saturday afternoon, preludes to parades that often ended in violence.
In the Midi-Pyrénées, but also in the East, several groups call to celebrate the three months of the movement by a “homecoming” , with rallies on the roundabouts Saturday morning.
Meetings are also planned Saturday in other cities (Marseille, Lyon, Nantes, Lille) and several other cities ( Nice, Saint-Etienne, Bourg-en-Bresse, Pontivy, Alencon …)
Between the government busy promoting its big debate and protesters denouncing a front consultation, the dialogue of the deaf continues.
“This movement does not claim anything,” said Thursday the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, another prime target of the protesters, ironically:
“He claims to make a demonstration to commemorate his own three months.”
“I do not see why we stop, we do not listen,” retorts Chantal, spokesman for yellow vests in Marseille. “We debate in our place, but we, since November, we know what we want: the concrete, that is to say, a rise in purchasing power and more public services. ”