Published On: Sun, Feb 10th, 2019

Again Violence At “Yellow Vests” Protesters In France

51,400 protesters took to the streets again. One person lost several fingers with a stun grenade. The Home Secretary calls for an end to the “systematic questioning of representatives of democracy”.

French yellow vest protests

About three months after the protests began, riots broke out again at the “Yellow Vest” demonstrations in Paris. Especially before the National Assembly, there were clashes between activists and the security forces on Saturday. At least one person was seriously injured. Thousands went to Paris along with others in Bordeaux, Toulouse and Lyon on the street.

On Saturday, for the thirteenth time, “yellow vests” gathered in Paris and other French cities to demonstrate against the policies of President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The movement had begun protesting against planned increases in gasoline prices in November, but is now generally opposed to the reform policies of the center-government of Macron. The movement got its name from the yellow safety vests worn by the demonstrators.

Some “yellow vests” activists in Paris have tried to break the fences at the entrance to the National Assembly – the lower house of the French parliament – as the broadcaster Franceinfo reported. Security forces tried to prevent that.

It came to clashes with security forces, in which a person has injured the hand very difficult. The station BFM TV reported, citing the police prefecture, that the man had lost at least four fingers. The victim wore no yellow vest, but it should be a photographer of the “yellow vests”. The exact cause was still unclear, reportedly a blinding grenade to be responsible for the injury.

The demonstrators continued in the afternoon on the left bank of the Seine in the direction of Champ de Mars, the large green space in front of the Eiffel Tower. In the area, a car belonging to the anti-terror operation Sentinelle went up in flames in the early evening. “Mission Sentinelle’s soldiers daily protect our countrymen from the risk of terrorism, and these attacks are unbearable,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner wrote on Twitter.

TV images showed burning vehicles and broken windows in the French capital. The police used tear gas. However, many demonstrators marched peacefully through the streets in Paris and other cities. By the evening, the Home Office counted 51,400 protesters across the country, including around 4,000 in Paris. Last weekend, there were 58,600 nationwide and 10,500 in the capital. Dozens of people were arrested.

After the attempted arson attack on the House of the President of the French National Assembly, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner denounced sentiment against representatives of democracy. “Maybe it’s time to stop the violence,” Castaner said on Saturday during a visit to Arcueil, northern France.

“Perhaps it is time to end the systematic questioning of representatives of democracy, the systematic questioning of our security forces.” National Assembly Chairman Richard Ferrand filed a complaint on Friday evening over a deliberate attempt to set his private home in Brittany on fire. There is no doubt about a “criminal origin” of this incident, said the politician, who belongs to the party La Republique en Marche (The Republic in Motion) of President Emmanuel Macron.

Because of riots in the course of the ongoing since November “yellow vests” protests against Macron, the French security forces are “present,” said Castaner. He would rather have the security forces focus on the everyday problems of the French “and not on the handling of some of the people who are basically concerned with harming our security forces, harming our institutions” or “threatening parliamentarians”.