Yellow Vests: Between “Disgust” and Desire to “Take up the Torch”, Many Undecided Before the Mobilisation Scheduled for this Saturday

General News
Yellow vests to start protests this Saturday

Several collectives have called for pounding the pavement again this Saturday throughout France

  • While many groups of the yellow vests have launched a call to resume the mobilisation this Saturday, some who have already participated in the movement are unsure of their willingness to demonstrate again.
  • Between the desire to continue the fight and the rejection of acts of violence sometimes associated with the movement, Laure, Benjamin and Nadine share their feelings with us.
  • Fearing “disturbances to public order”, the Paris police headquarters banned demonstrations by yellow vests in certain areas of the capital.

The yellow vests hope for a comeback with great fanfare this weekend. After the movement ran out of steam at the end of 2019 and then the confinement linked to the coronavirus epidemic, several calls to mobilize en masse across the country this Saturday circulated on social networks in recent days.

If uncertainty reigns over the level of mobilization, this day already has its share of controversy. The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, announced Thursday his intention to file a complaint against Jérôme Rodrigues  after the latter called the police union Synergie-Officiers a “gang of Nazis” during a heated exchange on Twitter.

Jean-Marie Bigard who, in August, had announced his presence at the head of the procession on September 12th, decided not to parade on the Champs-Elysées but in Brest. On his Twitter account, the comedian has dissociated himself from the figure of “yellow vests”, who had called for “civil disobedience” and a massive return to Paris.

For its part, the Paris Police Prefecture, fearing “disturbances to public order”, issued three orders prohibiting gatherings and demonstrations of “yellow vests” in several symbolic sectors of the capital (Trocadéro, Champ de March, Champs-Elysées…).

Several former yellow vests have expressed their disgust “by the violence of the movement” or demonstrators determined to revive the machine. Several people consider the resumption of the movement “irresponsible in the health and economic context”. Here is the testimony of three of you.

  • Laure, 35, civil servant in Coulommiers and a yellow vest from the start

“I was, I am and I will always be a ‘yellow vest’. I will participate in the demonstration on Saturday. I did not participate in the small ones that took place after the end of confinement. There I’m picking up because it sounds like a big call this time around. I will demonstrate in Toulouse because a trip to Paris would be too expensive, but I hope that the national mobilization will be very followed. Our main demands, such as improving purchasing power or establishing the RIC (citizens’ initiative referendum), have still not been heard. Everything we have suffered is unacceptable. Mom and civil servant, I’m scared of the police today. I was present during some big “acts” in Paris and Toulouse, and I was gassed and attacked for no reason. I was already afraid of not going home,

The Covid-19 doesn’t really worry me. Anyway, I’ll go to protest masked. Today the “yellow vests” are frowned upon while at the base, we are just fighting to live better and offer a better future to our children. “

  • Nadine, 55, quality inspector at Le Mans, will no longer go

“I will not participate. I will no longer participate. I had to leave the movement because it was becoming dangerous. Colleagues and I had decided to demonstrate on November 17th, 2018, against the carbon tax, and social and fiscal injustice. But we very quickly heard the “yellow vests” say they were going to break the cop, break things. On December 6th, I decided not to go any more when I saw that they were no longer demonstrations. I felt hatred, rage and that, I can’t stand it. It is true that the government does not seem to listen, but we can demonstrate without degradation.

Obviously, we should not only remember the violence. I do not belittle the yellow vests, it has produced results and they have the right to express themselves. Finally, I do not agree that they can demonstrate with the spread of the epidemic which resumes. We should abstain! “

  • Benjamin, 31, unclaimed yellow vest

“My girlfriend and I will be heading to Paris on Saturday. I do not call myself a yellow vest, but I will be by their side. Everyone must be mobilised to stop these 40 years of neoliberal policies. This movement made history by bursting onto the front of the stage. The government must understand that there are people who suffer from the measures they take.

I have never put on my yellow vest because I am not totally from this movement. I was an activist long before November 17 since I was already demonstrating at the time of the Laboor LawNight Standing or even the CPE when I was a high school student… Today we need a convergence of struggles. The Covid-19 does not worry me. There is no reason for us to fight, unless the police force us to do so. “

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