The mobilization against the French President continues, and on Saturday, February 23, the fifteenth act of the movement was in full swing throughout France.
The mobilization figures fell shortly after 19 hours, and according to the Ministry of the Interior, as 46 00 people were counted throughout the day across the country, including 5 800 in Paris.
The number of protesters are rising, since they were “only” 41 500 last weekend. The noted gatherings took place in Clermont-Ferrand and Toulouse. In the first city, 2 500 Yellow Vests marched in the largest city of Auvergne, barricaded for the occasion.
Authorities feared the presence of thugs among the demonstrators. As some marchers clashed with police in the middle of the afternoon, rubbish bins were burned and 12 arrests had already taken place by mid-morning, according to the prefecture.
“Weapons, some of them leading up to the march (petanque balls, baseball bat, alarm pistol, electric impulse handle) were apprehended,” according to the prefecture. Also in Clermont, clashes took place in a shopping street in the city and the CRS had to make use of flashballs.
In Toulouse, protesters led an anti-Amazon action, blocking the platform of the company. The Yellow Vests distributed leaflets that read “Amazon destroys jobs and the planet” .
In Bordeaux, known since the beginning of the movement for a certain measure of violence, the mobilization went ahead calmly and without incident. The organisers have clearly shown their desire for a more peaceful demonstration by blocking access to the Pey-Berland square, the usual theater of violence.
The Interior Minister has however condemned “the abuse” committed in Clermont-Ferrand, Rouen and Montpellier.
In Paris, two demonstrations (between the Place Charles-de-Gaulle and that of Trocadero) and three rallies (two at Place de la Republique, a third in the 17th arrondissement) were declared to the services of the police prefecture.
Tear gas bombs had to be fired at the arrival on the esplanade of Trocadéro to disperse the procession, in the late afternoon. According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, there were 5 800 present at midday.
Eric Drouet, one of the leaders of the Yellow Vest movement, was spotted at the Salon de l’Agriculture, where Emmanuel Macron was present. He said he wanted to “see if we could approach the president”.
Well before the beginning of the demonstrations this weekend, two Isère figures of the movement, Julien Terrier and Jérôme Bouzendorffer, were arrested at their homes early in the morning. They were placed in police custody, according to France Bleu.
According to the prosecutor of Grenoble, the arrest of these two Yellow Vests took place in the framework of the “participation in a group formed for the preparation of violence against persons or damage to property”, as well as a “call for an undeclared event on public roads”.
The two men had called, on social networks, for an operation to take place at Voreppe (Isère).