Another Saturday another Gilets Jaunes protest in France, round 11 this time. Politics and violence combined for a strange spectacle. Act XI was… different.
About 80,000 police officers were deployed throughout the country today. The protests were mostly peaceful but there were some clashes towards the end of the Paris march at Bastille square, with incidents elsewhere in France also occuring, with some 22,000 people attending towards the end of the day.
A key figure in the Yellow Vests movement, Jérôme Rodrigues, was struck by a piece of a flashball in the eye, which he sadly lost. This happened in Paris on the “Place de la Bastille”.
What is insidious about this episode is that Jérôme Rodrigues was standing still, recording what was going on, conversing with his compatriots when a shard of the flashball hit his eye…
Many other cases of excessive force by police were recorded.
The Bigger Picture: Act XI Across The Nation
Protesters also marched through Strasbourg to the European Parliament.
More marches took place in Bordeaux and Toulouse, which have been fulcrum points of the movement, with other confrontations during protests in Marseille and Lyon. A nationwide protest against ‘King Macron’.
Some among the Yellow Vests have voiced their intention to run in European elections. Since the Gilets Jaunes movement began as an apolitical grassroots organisation of like minded citizens, this has caused some tension withing the movement’s ranks.
The protesters released a list of candidates for this year’s European Parliament elections on Wednesday, they also created a new party: Citizen’s Initiative Rally is what they are calling it. Their plan is to put forward 79 candidates in May.
A key figure in this area is one Ingrid Levavasseur, the leader of the party, a 31 year old nursing assistant from Normandy. She has been protesting alongside the Yellow Vests for some time now and has gained the support of many.
Polls show that the Gilets Jaunes may carry as much as 13% of the votes in May, following quite close behind France’s two largest parties.
Italian politicians have voiced their support of the Yellow Vests, but it remains to be seen what their policies will be.