Yellow Vests: The First Anniversary Marked by an Outbreak of Violence in Paris

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Firefighters intervene place of Italy, starting point of a demonstration of "yellow vests", on November 16, 2019 in Paris.

The yellow vests found Saturday 16th November 2019, one year after the launch of this unprecedented social movement. An anniversary marked by clashes in the capital.

Outbreaks of violence in Paris and a return to the roundabouts of France: the first anniversary of yellow vests , which aimed to give a second wind to their social protest movement , was marked Saturday, November 16, 2019 by the return of chaos in some parts of the capital.

Small groups of thugs

For two hours at the beginning of the afternoon, the situation remained confused Place d’Italie, on the left bank of the Seine, where the police force tried a moment in vain to disperse small groups of breakers, alternate brief charges and deluge of tear.

“Given the violence and abuses”, the police prefecture asked the cancellation of the event that was to start from this place from 14h.





Cars overturned, construction equipment and garbage burned, bus shelter ransacked: in half an hour, the sporadic assaults of small groups turned into an outbreak of violence, noted our journalist of Actu Paris , which saw wounded demonstrators -dont a journalist, and firefighters prevented from intervening.

The Place d’Italie event “brought together people who did not defend a cause, but proceeded to destroy” and “systematic attacks against the security forces and firefighters,” said the police prefect Didier Lallement at the time. ‘a press conference.

The shopping center of Italy 2, on the square, had closed since the first incidents. Around 1pm, its front doors and the windows of a neighboring hotel complex were attacked by cobblestones by dozens of hooded people dressed in black

“Anger is caused by the state”

Regularly, these small groups returned to the load and were temporarily repulsed by the force of the order, which also used several times a water cannon.

“It’s pitiful, it’s a shame that the demonstration was banned. Manifesting is a right and it is denied me “, impairs Catherine Van Puymbroeck, 49, who came with her son from Eure-et-Loire for the first time.

Calm returned in the middle of the afternoon once the place, sometimes drowned under a cloud of tear gas, evacuated by the police. “Firefighters, come and put out the candles,” launched a “yellow vest” when leaving the scene.

At 7pm the police headquarters reported a total of 124 people arrested in Paris.

The Champs-Elysées padlocked
The situation was also a tense moment Bastille Square, where a first authorized march arriving from the Champerret gate was blocked by law enforcement, said an AFP journalist.

For this anniversary of the movement, born November 17 of the challenge of a fuel tax, several thousand people were expected in Paris, where authorities feared the intervention of “200 to 300 ultra-yellow and 100 to 200 ultra-leftists “.

Epicenter of several violent Saturdays, the Champs-Elysees, padlocked and forbidden to any manifestation, were spared.

A huge riot barrier was installed on the Champs-Elysées roundabout in the middle of the avenue on Saturday, November 16, 2019.
A huge riot barrier was installed on the Champs-Elysées roundabout in the middle of the avenue on Saturday, November 16, 2019. (© SL / Actu Paris)

The “yellow vests”, which had gathered 282 000 protesters on the inaugural Saturday, sought for this “act 53” to give a breath to the “roundabout revolt” that had shaken the mandate of Emmanuel Macron but did not gather than a few thousand people in recent months.

A year later, despite concessions from the government – activity bonuses, tax-free overtime, organization of a major national debate – the multiple demands of this vast challenge remain such as VAT cuts on essential goods, return of the ISF, a citizens’ initiative referendum.

More than 270 actions were announced all weekend, everywhere in France.

Roundabouts reinvested in the regions

In the regions, the first demonstrations started in the morning and proceeded globally without incidents.

In the southeast, the “yellow vests” have reinvested some roundabouts, distributing leaflets to motorists, without degradation or significant disruption. There were a hundred in Albi (Tarn), a few handles in Auch, in the Gers.

Roundabouts have also been reinvested in Normandy, Caen and Rouen, and in Brittany, particularly in Vannes . They were 700 in Lille to ask for more “social justice, tax justice, climate justice”.

A protester "yellow vest", wearing the clothes of the character of the Joker, place of Italy in Paris on November 16, 2019.
A protester “yellow vest”, wearing the clothes of the character of the Joker, place of Italy in Paris on November 16, 2019. (© AFP / Philippe LOPEZ)

The situation was, however, more tense in Nantes, where clashes erupted around 16h in the city centre between the police and nearly a thousand protesters, according to the prefecture.

“If the movement disappears I am afraid that society is dehumanizing, it will be the end of public service and the reign of money king,” said Vanessa, 47 years in Nantes.


In Montpellier, the permanence of the MP The Republic in March Patrick Vignal was the target of protesters Saturday afternoon, with a broken window and several anarchist inscriptions tagged on the building, AFP found on the spot.

Some clashes in Lyon

In Lyon, tear gas was fired in a busy area of ​​the city center. In Bordeaux, there were 600 demonstrators and several hundred in Toulouse , where tear gas and water cannon were used against the protesters.

About 700 people marched in Lille behind a banner “Young people in the galley, the old in misery, change the system. Social Justice, Tax Justice, Climate Justice “.

A fireman tries to extinguish the fire that destroys a car from Italy to Paris, November 16, 2019, on the sidelines of a demonstration of "yellow vests".
A fireman tries to extinguish the fire that destroys a car from Italy to Paris, November 16, 2019, on the sidelines of a demonstration of “yellow vests”. (© AFP / Philippe LOPEZ)

“Preparation for December 5th”

In Grenoble, the unitary protest against the policy of President Macron which brought together “yellow vests”, unions (GCT, FSU, Solidarity, Unsa, CNT) and associations mobilized several hundred people in peace.

The organizers see a “preparation for December 5”, date of an interprofessional strike dreaded by the executive.

Yellow Vests: The First Anniversary Marked by an Outbreak of Violence in Paris 1

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