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Leader of Yellow Vests says he would accept Italian leadership invitation

Eric Drouet, one of the leaders of the Yellow Vest protest movement in France, said on Wednesday that he was ready to take up an invitation to meet Italian Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio for talks.

Published: January 10, 2019, 9:24 am

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    Paris

    The truck driver and hounded leader of the protest movement, told Italian news agency ANSA that a meeting with Labour and Industry Minister Di Maio “absolutely feasible”.

    He said he was “always very happy about the various expressions of support for the Yellow Vests. It’s important support for us”. There has been tension between Paris and Rome after Di Maio said this week that his 5-Star Movement (M5S) was ready to offer support to the Yellow Vests.

    In an interview published by daily newspaper Il Fatto Guotidiano on Wednesday, Di Maio said he would meet Yellow Vest representatives soon and wanted to form a group for this year’s European elections.

    “Macron can work on alliances in Europe, but if I do so, am I committing lese-majeste?,” he remarked dryly.

    Fellow Deputy Premier, Interior Minister and League leader Matteo Salvini also expressed support for the protestors in France.

    Another Yellow Vest, Jacline Mouraud, said on Tuesday that Di Maio was “meddling” in French domestic affairs and denounced Drouet’s visit.

    The approval ratings of the French movement is still very high and has only decreased by 10 points in one month, according to an Elabe poll.

    Despite the decline, membership remains massive. No less than 60 percent of French approve the Yellow Vests, according to the poll, broadcast by BFMTV on Wednesday, January 9. BFMTV has been accused of misrepresenting the movement and airing fake news.

    After eight weeks of mobilization, support remains steady and sympathy remains stable. Only 31 percent of respondents (+9 points) disapprove of the mobilization, of which 15 percent (+4 points) said they were against it.

    The reasons given for this negative view is related to the violence at gatherings, as police were violently attacked, as well as symbols of the republic targeted.

    On the political front, the approval rate among the voters of Marine Le Pen, were 81 percent and Jean-Luc Mélenchon 78 percent. Among the supporters of LaREM, the party of Emmanuel Macron, there were only 31 percent who approved of the movement, while 80 percent of them wanted it to stop.

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