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Yellow Vests in Paris. FWM
Montpellier

Act XXX: Yellow Vest numbers on the rise

On Saturday, June 8, some 10 300 Yellow Vests mobilized throughout France, according to the Ministry of Interior, more than last week.

Published: June 9, 2019, 9:14 am

    Act XXX did not have the scale of the first weekends of the movement, but the Yellow Vests were more mobilized this Saturday than last week. As French daily Le Monde reported, some 2 000 of them took to the streets of Montpellier, according to prefecture figures, while the movement itself said they were 5 000 according to their estimates.

    And right at the start of a procession that had gathered at Place de la Comedie, in the center of the city, tensions emerged, according to Le Monde. In total, according to the Ministry of the Interior, some 10 300 people demonstrated throughout the country, including 1 100 in Île-de-France, as opposed to 9 500 last Saturday in France, counting 1 500 in Paris.

    In Montpellier, police used tear gas to prevent Yellow Vests from reaching the prefecture. Many of the protesters were masked or hooded, shouting “dictatorship!”. As clashes erupted with the police, the law enforcement officers massively used not only tear gas to repel the demonstrators, but also water cannons in the busy streets.

    Just after midday, the Place de la Comédie was evacuated by CRS officers. “The most virulent demonstrators were lancing agricultural bombs, cobblestones, glass bottles … at the police who responded with counter-measures and a great calm,” said the prefecture in a statement.

    According to the latter, four members of the police and four demonstrators were injured on the sidelines of the demonstration, and eleven people were arrested, according to BFM TV. The “street medics” present in the protest movement said two more wounded were taken care of near the prefecture.

    A policeman was burned on the arm after protesters launched pyrotechnic devices, “We do not note any serious injuries despite the high level of violence of the demonstrators who came for a confrontation,” commented the prefecture.

    Sixteen people were eventually arrested according to the prefecture, after benches and street furniture were degraded. Yellow Vests said they were “very angry” and “disgusted” to have been “prevented from demonstrating” after which they spread throughout the city center, playing cat and mouse with the police.

    Moreover, in Seine-Saint-Denis, about a thousand people marched in a procession that completed its route to Bobigny. During the march, clashes with police forces occurred, reported BFM TV.

    The Yellow Vests were accompanied by members of the collective “Antifa Paris suburbs”, shouting anti-capitalist slogans. A banner “neither forgetting nor forgiveness 2005-2019” was unfurled, referring to the deaths of two young Muslims, Zyed and Bouna, in Clichy-sous-Bois in 2005.

    Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, were electrocuted in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois in October 2005 after police had chased the two during a riot. Ten years later, the court in Rennes cleared two police officers of charges of failing to assist someone in danger.

    The march from Saint-Denis to Bobigny was called “The Yellow Vests in the suburbs, Act I”, AFP reported. The demonstrators had met at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis to converge on the prefecture of Bobigny.

    Despite smaller gatherings of Yellow Vests, the results of the monthly YouGov barometer produced for Le HuffPost, showed that the French people’s perception of the National Rally is clearly on the rise.

    As the top party of France in the polls, the National Rally has become even more popular after the European election. This was confirmed by the YouGov monthly barometer published on Friday, June 7. It revealed that the image of Marine Le Pen’s party was improving.

    For 43 percent of voters (+4 points), the RN has “a clear line from which it does not deviate”. Some 41 percent (+9 points) believe that the political party is ready “to make unpopular decisions if they are good for the country”.

    Two other increases concern the proportion of French people who consider that the party “addresses the whole population, not only its voters” (38 percent, +6 points) and that it has “good intentions, even if I do not I do not always agree with them”(38 percent, +7 points).

    YouGov’s poll also revealed that the popularity of Emmanuel Macron was down by one point (25 percent) compared to May, a disavowal found among all the French voters except the target electorate of the president, where the rating of the latter is up three points. The Prime Minister’s popularity is up one point (27 percent).

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