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Yellow Vests in Paris. FWM

French police brutality against Yellow Vests denounced by EU and UN

Yellow Vest protesters marched again on Saturday across France in Act XIV of the movement. Three months into the ongoing protests, international outrage over police brutality is growing.

Published: February 17, 2019, 9:28 am

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    Celebrating their third month of mobilization, rallies extended throughout the weekend. According to the latest official figures from the Ministry of the Interior, 41 500 demonstrators gathered throughout France, including 5 000 in Paris.

    A slight decrease was noted compared to last week, when at the same time, there were 51 400 demonstrators in France. But according to the le Nombre Jaune , a collective responsible for listing the various events, there were 101 379 demonstrators, a stable figure compared to last week.

    “We are 15 000, that means the movement is increasing,” Jerome Rodrigues, one of the movement’s leaders, told AFP. Rodrigues was struck in the eye by a projectile fired from a police flash ball launcher (LBD) not long ago, but participated in the Paris march.

    On Thursday, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the disproportionate use of force against Yellow Vest protesters, following a debate about the controversial weapons used by French law enforcement.

    Also on Thursday, a group of UN experts condemned the disproportionate use of force by police in response to the ongoing movement. Some 23 people were arrested, the police headquarters announced.

    According to information from Franceinfo, a motorist drove through a procession of demonstrators in Rouen (Seine-Maritime) earlier in the afternoon, injuring at least four people.

    The man was reportedly stuck at a traffic light and got angry. He was then targeted by projectiles when he complained, and fearing the worst, got back in his car and rammed into the middle of the crowd, injuring at least four people, according to BFMTV.

    During Saturday’s protest, anti-semitic insults were directed at a French academic, according to footage circulating on social networks.

    Alain Finkielkraut, 69, was defended by French President Emmanuel Macron who condemned the incident. Finkielkraut told French weekly Journal du Dimanche that he had “feared for his safety” but fortunately the police had intervened.

    He was booed and whistled at during the march by a group of protesters in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris, according to Le Figaro, but was never in danger.

    The academic told the newspaper: “The various leaders of this protean revolt have been welcomed with open arms on all television sets. They became the stars of the small screen. This promotion has risen to their heads and the arrogance has changed sides.” He denounced the “arrogance” of Yellow Vests who shouted “Zionist!”, “Go home!” and “France is ours!”.

    One protester told AFP that Finkielkraut had been provoking them. Despite telling the Journal du Dimanche that he “felt an absolute hatred,” Finkielkraut could be seen smiling as the police led him away.

    A poll by Elabe on Wednesday showed that a majority (58 percent) of French citizens still support the movement.

    Toulouse saw clashes between police and protesters with thousands marching in a huge turnout in the southwest city of Bordeaux, another stronghold of the movement.

    Clashes and arrests were registered in several cities.

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