Yellow Vest Protesters Across France Exceed 38,000 — Reports
Police and Yellow Vest protestors clash in Montmartre. Source: AFP Getty
In spite of the efforts by government influenced mainsteam meadia to claim the sixt week of Yellow vest protests in France only attracted a few thousand participants, The number of demonstrators who are taking part in “yellow vest” rallies across France on Saturday has exceeded 38,000, local media reported, citing the Interior Ministry. It was obvious from media coverage of protests in Paris alone that the momement is not diminishing in strength. Whatever ‘fake news’ government propagandists try to spread, alt_media are ahead of them, getting the real news out.
The France Info radio station reported that the police had detained 220 protesters across the country, with 81 of them taken into custody. A Sputnik correspondent earlier reported that police had used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters on the Champs Elysee in Paris, where TV news reports showe that the protests were much larger than the government of city authorities were willing to admit.
The wave of ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (yellow vest) protests — named after the manadatory high visibility sleeveless jacket all French drivers carry — started in mid-November over plans to impoose a large tax increase on fuel for automobiles and commercial vehicles as part of President Macron’s highly unpopular green agenda.
While the French government has for the current tax year scrapped its planned hike fuel taxes, which is what initially sparked the protests, the “yellow vests” have evolved into a broader movement against government policies and rising living costs. The rallies have been marked by violent clashes between protesters and the police.
Macron Calls for Order, Calm in Country Amid ‘Yellow Vests’ Protests
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Sunday for establishing order and accord in the country amid another wave of “yellow vests” rallies.
“The time has come for order, calm and harmony to prevail in the country. Our country needs it, it needs accord, unity and sincere commitment to important common goals. It is necessary to eliminate the existing differences”, Macron told the BFMTV broadcaster.
Allegations of Russian Link to ‘Yellow Vests’ a Real Flop — French Journo
A yellow vests protestor in Paris (source: Sputnik)
The attempts by government officials in France, Britain, the USA and the European Union executive to claim the government of Russia has been deeply involved in the rise of the Gilets Janunes (Yellow Vests) protest that has spead from France across Europe have nothing to do with reality and are being used to promote the application of the controversial “fake news” law, Patrick Kamenka, a member of the French National Union of Journalists (SNJ-CGT), said on Wednesday.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian started this particular ‘fake news’ campaign in early December, presumably to divert attention from the profound ineptitude of the Macron administration. Le Drian claimed that French authorities were investigating media reports about Russian involvement in the protests. Moscow laughed off the accusation, saying that the yellow vest protests were France’s internal affair, calling the claims slander.
The yellow vest movement began on social media early this year as various groups formed to protest Macron’s policies, which his critics claim favour the wealthy elite and disregard the concerns of ordinary people, the current wave of street protests were sparked last month by anger over fuel tax increases in France and have ever since expanded into wider grievances.
“I think it [ the Russia story ] is a real flop… I believe these accusations are completely out of touch with reality in France. This situation is social, people are asking for a better life because of the social difficulties they have… The real problem is what would be the answer of the government and President Emmanuel Macron to the demands of the people… I think that if you go and ask people who are demonstrating or fighting for their rights, they will be surprised to hear these rumors,” Kamenka said.
In late November, the French National Assembly passed a law enacting measures to suppress “the manipulation of information,” and empowering French judges to order the removal of “fake news” from websites during election campaigns. Before being adopted by the lower house of the French parliament, the law was rejected twice by the Senate. In the eyes of President Macron’s administration, ‘fake news’ is anything which challenges or criticises the narratives being promoted by the French government and the European Union.
Kamenka believes the bill’s authors are gambling that allegations of Russia’s involvement in the “yellow vest” protests could help the supporters of the law to push it forward.
“We as a union declared recently that this law is very much against the freedom of expression and can be used against any media or any journalist… In this case, they are playing games accusing either Russia or the US of trying to push this social [yellow vest] movement forward… I think it will help those who introduced that law to the French parliament,” Kamenka underlined.
Yellow vest protests spread to seventh country in ‘revolutionary Europe’
Yellow Vests have now spread to Portugal! A few hundred “yellow vest” protesters took to the streets throughout Portugal on Friday in an attempt to stop traffic, inspired by the French revolutionary “gilets jaunes”.
There were roughly 100 protesters crossing with police at a central square in Lisbon with other access roads blocked in the northern city of Braga earlier.
One protester, Joao Viana, 50, tells why she is protesting:
“The reason why I joined this protest today is because this really is the voice of the people.
“The movement is not aligned to any political party and we simply want to tell the government that we are tired of corruption, we are tired of taxes, we are tired of paying to sustain the political class.”
Portugal does not have a history of protesting like the French, who inspired the Yellow Vests movement, however the socialist government did put 20,000 police on alert.
There were no significant delays or interruptions in traffic at any of the targets in Lisbon.
The movement in France has transformed from a tax protest to a much wider protest against the economic reforms of the embattled French President Emmanuel Macron and his elitist government.
Emmanuel’s approval rating as beleaguered as the President, himself, diving to a record low of 18 per cent.
Inspired by the still revolutionary French, the Yellow Vest movement is empowering the working-class against their elitist governments in now seven countries.
Another Saturday in Paris: Smoke & scuffles, more than 100 Yellow Vests detained
The atmosphere at the Yellow Vest protests in the heart of the French capital has become more strained as demonstrators engage in scuffles with police officers.
Saturday’s protest started with calm demonstrations by Yellow Vest protestors, but as the Gendarmerie, the paramilitary thugs deployed by the boy Macron to suppress the protests began to use heavy handed tactics, tensions soon rose. Police resorted to force against the rioters near the artistic Montmartre district in the north of the capital.
Scuffles also broke out near Madeleine Church, some 2km from Montmartre. Protesters were also seen near the iconic Louvre Museum and Sacre-Coeur Basilica.
Later, in the evening, a group of protesters tried to block traffic on the Champs Elysees. Riot police arrived on the scene and surrounded the area, attempting to disperse demonstrators.
More than 100 people have been detained at this time, according to the Paris Police Prefecture.
Yellow Vests’ Protesters Hold Unauthorised Rally in Brussels
Protests are not easy to organise in the Belgian capital. All sorts of permissions and licences have to be obtained so one might think the heavy boot of authority would quickly stamp out the spark of rebellion. Not so it seems, to continue their protest against EU authoritarianism, unsustainable levels of immigration, high taxes, high unemployment, government paralysis and a plethora of problems, the Yellow Vests Belgian supporters simply converged on the city centre and held their protest in defiannce of the law. The gathering in the Belgian capital was held in a calm atmosphere the public order being ensured by reinforced police patrols, anews agency reports informed us on Saturday.
Though the rally was not as large as those in France a significant proportion of the crowd were calling for a citizen-initiated referendum on the crucial political issues, including EU membership and the minority governments intention to sign the United Nations migration pact which would lead to another influx of illegal immigrants. People in yellow vests were handing out leaflets to the passers by. Police reported no incidents involving violence or criminal damage, despite the fact that the rally was not authorised.
The protests come amid political chaos after the government’s resignation, provoked by the nationalist N-VA party, that had quit the ruling coalition in order to oppose the United Nations Global Compact for Migration.
Iconic London Tower guards don yellow vests for their first strike in 55 YEARS
© AFP / Daniel Sorabji
Yeomen Warders (Beefeaters) at The Tower of London’s “Beefeater” donned the famous yellow hi-vis vests of the Gilets Jaunes movement to stage a walkout in protest against pension cuts, showing solidarity with the French protest movement that is spreading throughout Europe. The warders picketed the iconic site — their first strike in 55 years.
The Beefeaters, whose red uniforms, black hats, and stoic expressions are instantly recognizable symbols of England, joined workers at other British landmarks in a walkout on Friday to protest against a new pension scheme that will see employees forced to contribute significantly more of their paychecks.
The yellow vests, compulsory equipment in all cars in France have been made famous over the past month by French protesters angered by President Emmanuel Macron’s neoliberal economic policies. The Beefeaters — along with employees of Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and other sites run by the Historic Royal Palaces group — formed a picket line outside the Tower of London after 91 percent of their union voted to strike for the first time in over half a century.
Driver killed in accident at Yellow Vest roadblock in southern France
A driver was killed in southern France on Friday when their car crashed into a truck at a roundabout blocked by Yellow Vest protesters, French local authorities said.
The car driver, aged 36, died in the accident near Perpignan, a police source told Reuters on Saturday, bringing to 10 the death toll linked to the anti-government protests.
Demonstrators kept up traffic disruptions on Saturday, in another weekend of the protests which have forced President Emmanuel Macron to reverse unpopular policies and disrupted the French economy.
The protesters had been split on Friday on whether to stage another large rally in Paris, or in the nearby town of Versailles, once home to king Louis XVI who lost his head to the revolutionary guillotine.
Fearing possible unrest, authorities said they were closing the Palace of Versailles and its gardens, a top tourist venue, on Saturday.
A Facebook event organised by Yellow Vest leader Eric Drouet listed 1,400 people as “participants” in the Versailles demonstration with a further 8,000 people saying they were “interested”.
Protesters wearing yellow vests (gilets jaunes) demonstrate against rising oil prices and deteriorating economic conditions Credit: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Meanwhile shopkeepers in Paris, many of whom remained shuttered over the past two weekends to guard against looting and violence, were urged to exercise caution.
Further demonstrations were also planned in Lyon, Toulouse, Orleans and Brittany.
The Yellow Vest insurgency is only possible because of a failure of global capitalism to uplift the working class. Instead, it puts a boot on their necks. “La République en Flammes”,