Demonstration of "yellow vests" in Toulouse on April 13, 2019.

Yellow Vests: Slightly Increased Mobilisation for Act 22

General News

Act 22 Yellow Vests was held Saturday 13th April, including Toulouse, capital of the event, but also in Paris. No question of letting go before Macron’s announcements.

A few days of announcements Emmanuel Macron out of the crisis, several thousand “yellow vests” demonstrated Saturday for the act 22 of the movement , including Paris and Toulouse.

The rallies gathered a total of 31,000 people in France, including 5,000 in Paris, according to a count of the Ministry of the Interior. Figures above the 22,300 recorded the previous Saturday, the lowest participation since the beginning of the movement four months ago.

On their side, the “yellow vests”, who dispute the official figures, estimate the number of participants to “80 504”, according to the counting Facebook page, and evoke “a small revival of mobilisation” before the “exceptional” date of the April 20th.


“Great debate, big blah”

Even before the declarations of the President of the Republic, some gave the general mood in the processions: “The big debate, big blah,” “Macron is not waiting for your ads,” could we read on the signs of the small Parisian procession.

The pressure is considerable on the head of state, who must avoid the road exit of the government heckled by this crisis that has lasted for almost five months. He will be on the front line again after a week when Prime Minister Edouard Philippe “heated the room” by promising a “powerful and concrete” presidential response.

Overall, the demonstrations were peaceful. In Paris, police ordered 27 arrests and 9473 preventive checks, said the prefecture.

Demonstration of "yellow vests" in Paris, Place de la République, on April 13, 2019.
Demonstration of “yellow vests” in Paris, Place de la République, on April 13, 2019. (© AFP / Thomas SAMSON)

Clashes in Toulouse

But in Toulouse, “capital” of the day for the demonstrators , clashes between protesters and police enamelled the rally. The police used tear gas, sound grenades and water cannon to repel the “yellow vests”, which were about 4,500 according to a police source.

Twenty-three people were arrested, including several “for voluntary concealment of the face” under the anti-collapse law, said the prefecture.

These demonstrations are indeed the first to take place after the promulgation of this law, particularly targeted by the “yellow vests”.

“Manifesting is a fundamental right and must remain so,” said a banner at the head of the small procession of Bordeaux, where many axes leading to the city center, banned by prefectural order, had been blocked by law enforcement.

“Resistance! “, ” Freedom ! Freedom to demonstrate! “Chanted the 1,800 protesters in Montpellier.

“We will not be prevented from demonstrating. They can make the laws they want, we will still be there in August if necessary, “promises Gabrielle, 43, protester in Paris.

The Parisian procession also joined early in the afternoon, Place de la République, the march for “freedom to demonstrate”, organized by several associations (including LDH, Amnesty, Attac, UNEF, SOS Racism …), against this device partially censored by the Constitutional Council and about fifty organisations have requested the repeal.

Anti-collapse law

Promulgated on Thursday, the text authorizes the search of bags and vehicles in the demonstrations and its surroundings, and creates a crime of willful concealment of the face punished by one year of imprisonment and 15,000 euros fine.

This law was passed after several Saturday marked by scenes of urban riots, including Bordeaux and Paris on the Champs-Elysees, which have been around the world.

The Prefecture of Police has, for the third time in a row, banned any gathering. Regularly imposed since mid-March, the partial prohibitions to protest concern also number of other cities: Lille, Lyon, Montauban …

Construction machine burned on April 13, 2019 in Toulouse at the gathering of "yellow vests".
Construction machine burned on April 13, 2019 in Toulouse at the gathering of “yellow vests”. (© AFP / Pascal PAVANI)

“Purchasing power”

They were a thousand in Lille to take an alternative route because of the prohibition to demonstrate in the city center. “To live in France costs an arm, to complain about it costs an eye,” could be read on placards. “Frexit”, was it also written on the back of several “yellow vests”.

“The first demand is the purchasing power. My two children are working and yet they are struggling, “says Cathy Sonntag, who came from Guebwiller to march in Strasbourg. This former maternal assistant and housekeeper is showing for the first time with the “yellow vests”.

Many protesters are already talking about next week’s event, announced as ultimatum 2.

“The threat seems stronger for April 20,” lamented late this week Christophe Castaner, the Minister of the Interior, referring to “calls that invite almost to destroy Paris.”

For Jérôme, a CGT activist of 47 years, it is especially May 1st that will attract. “We expect a lot of people. The unions are already starting to rally people, we are in a tussle with Macron. He’s the first coward who loses. “

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