France: Yellow Vests Take To The Streets For 16th Week In A Row

Thousands of Yellow Vest protesters took to the streets for the 16th consecutive week on Saturday.

Today some protesters enjoyed friendly chats with police officers,  as others faced tear gas after trying to break off from a pre-approved route.

Sophie Tissier, a coordinator of the Paris protest, said  “we keep protesting every Saturday because Macron doesn’t respond at all to the yellow vests’ demands. We want to rebuild our democracy and change today’s political system.”

“Macron is contemptuous and …and  does not even try to understand that there are people that are living in great poverty and precariousness, and that there are so many inequalities,” she added.

According to figures from the Interior Ministry, 39,300 Yellow Vest protesters demonstrated nationwide, including 4,000 in Paris.

RT reports: Unlike previous demonstrations, Paris officials authorized a designated route for Saturday’s “Act 16” anti-government marchers – a span of road beginning at the Arc de Triomphe and ending at Place Denfert-Rochereau in the south of the city.

In contrast to the chaotic clashes with police during previous protests, photographs and videos reveal a largely peaceful, orderly demonstration.

A protester uses his phone to take a selfie with Eric Drouet (L), one of the leading figures of the ‘Yellow Vest’ movement, on the sidelines of an anti-government demonstration held in Paris, on March 2, 2019. © AFP / Eric Feferberg

 

Protesters take part in an anti-government demonstration called by the “Yellow Vest” movement, on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, on March 2, 2019. © AFP / Eric Feferberg

Videos taken by an RT France reporter even showed Yellow Vests and French police chatting amiably, with one protester even offering a riot cop a flower.

Police, however, later used tear gas on demonstrators who attempted to defy the pre-approved protest route by marching down New York Avenue.

Similar marches are being held across France, but activists have expressed concern that the movement is losing momentum.

One Yellow Vest group on Facebook has called on demonstrators to return to the movement’s “spontaneous” roots with unsanctioned protests held at unauthorized locations.

The Yellow Vest movement began in November 2018 after French President Emmanuel Macron announced controversial tax hikes. Over 2,000 people have been arrested since the demonstrations began, and dozens of protesters have been injured during violent clashes with police.