The French executive leadership and its repressive arm against the Yellow Vests, have created one more victim. After being hit by a projectile at Place de la Bastille, in Paris, and wounded in the right eye, Yellow Vest leader Jérôme Rodrigues reacted on Facebook.
He denounced “an attempted murder orchestrated by the police officer mandated by Macron and his dog [Interior Minister] Castaner”. He added: “You’ll be able to take an eye, an arm, a leg … but you will not win!” Rodrigues will be disabled for life, his lawyer has said.
While a police source told BFMTV that the Yellow Vest leader had been hit by hail from a shotgun, the lawyer for Rodrigues says that his client was hit by a flash-ball launcher. “I have material evidence in the sense that it’s a flash-ball shot,” Philippe de Veulle told BFMTV. He added: “There were no cameras, nor summons. It is a breach of ethics and rules.”
Jérôme Rodrigues témoigne à BFMTV: "J'ai été visé délibérément" pic.twitter.com/zwCaQwTzZn
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) January 27, 2019
In an interview with LCI, the victim further stated that one of the projectiles that hit him was “picked up” by one of the witnesses on the scene. “Everything was happening very fast. A grenade is launched at me and I took a bullet. I was doubly attacked. A grenade and a bullet,” he confirmed.
According to the Yellow Vest, the police targeted him specifically. Police maintain that Rodrigues’s injuries were caused by a crowd-control grenade, a version of events his lawyer “categorically” denied.
De Veulle told BFMTV: “He will be disabled for life. It’s a tragedy for him and his family.” The lawyer said he was lodging a complaint against police for “voluntary violence by a person of public authority”.
On BFMTV, Jerome Rodrigues however said he was a “pacifist” and explained: “I call for calm, I do not want people to get upset. Demand more, cry out in anger louder, while remaining pacifist. This is the message I would like to bring.”
But he added: “I’m going to take legal action against Mr Macron, Mr Castaner and against the police officer who shot at me.” More than 80 similar criminal inquiries have been launched following serious injuries or legal complaints by Yellow Vests.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said he was not worried by the half a thousand complaints against him for “hindering the freedom of demonstration”.
Castaner is one of the most hated government figures for the Yellow Vests. In the course of two months of protest, numerous complaints – some 500 – were lodged against the Minister of the Interior. But as franceinfo reported, they have all been dismissed.
The High Court has decided not follow up on these complaints and said that it would not call upon “the complaints commission”, as per Article 431-1 of the Penal Code.
The Interior Ministry estimated that 69 000 people marched in Act XI of the protests across France on Saturday. Protesters disputed the number, but have not yet provided their own figures.