France: Yellow Vests Protest Reaching a Showdown With Macron

Source:  Popular Resistance
March 23 2019

By Richard Greeman, Popular Resistance

RESIST!

resistance.jpgThe situation in France may be reaching a showdown between the Macron government, which is now considering using the Army against the Yellow Vests, and the social movement, to whose demands the regime continues to turn a deaf ear.

In the last week, we have seen a nation-wide strike of High School and other students demanding immediate government intervention to stop the global warming that threatens their future lives. The government response: police brutality against teenagers.

On Saturday, there was a massive March for the Climate all over France, perhaps 150,000 demonstrators, which converged with the “19th Act” of the weekly Yellow Vest demonstrations, which have just celebrated their fourth monthly anniversary. Again, much police brutality, but only against the Yellow Vests, not the Climate people.

On Tuesday (Mar 19th) the CGT and a coalition of other unions sponsored a one-day nation-wide interprofessional strike, which the Yellow vests supported and joined in the name of “convergence” and common goals: restore public services, retirement, social security, salaries, and a demand to be listened to.

Radio silence from Paris.

Simultaneously, the Macron government has hastily passed several new repressive laws making demonstrations all but illegal. Macron has fired the Police Prefect for being too soft on demonstrators (!) and for not using enough of the Flashballs that have already killed an old woman on her balcony and seriously injured (blinded) over a hundred demonstrators, thousands of whom have been arrested. These weapons, made in Switzerland and labeled as weapons of war there, have been proclaimed ‘medium crowd control defense weapons’ by France, despite the protests of Michelle Bachelet and the European and UN Human Rights groups.

yellow vests protest

France: Police Threaten To Join Yellow Vests Protesters

Source:  Popular Resistance
March 12 2019

By Matt Agorist, Secretspaceprogram.com

FRANCE-SOCIAL-POLITICS-ENVIRONMENT-OIL-DEMO

Police in France are being ripped off by their government which is refusing to pay them for policing the protests—now they are threatening to join the yellow vests.

France — As the “gilets jaunes” or “yellow vests” protests continue to take place across France, the government has been slowly acquiescing to the demands of citizens. However, the concessions have not been enough and so they’ve stayed in the streets although mostly calm. Also in the streets are the French police, who, according to reports, are also growing wary with the French state. The protests have been ongoing for around a month now and the police force is tiring out—and they aren’t getting paid for it. Police in France have racked up a massive 23 million hours of overtime as they work protests and not a single one of them have been paid for it.

Once the union realized that their officers were not being paid the money they were owed, the Alliance Union called on officers across France to only handle emergencies only as they negotiated with the interior ministry over their compensation.

On Wednesday, activists called on police to cross the line and join them. Police did not rule this option out and they went so far as to threaten the French government with doing just that.

Negotiations between three unions—Alliance, UNSA-Police and Unity-SGP-FO—and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Tuesday failed to reach a settlement, according to Newsweek. As talks resumed on Wednesday, France 24 reported that activists were calling on forces across the country to commit to a “slowdown” and only respond to emergencies until the dispute had been settled.

The slowdown took place and yet the government still failed to address their concerns. So, police held a “black day for the police” protest on Wednesday. Now, they are threatening Act II, and even Act III. Using the term ‘Act’, the police are aligning themselves with the yellow vests as this is a similar tactic used in the current demonstrations.

“Despite our repeated appeals to the President of the Republic to announce an emergency plan for the security forces, so far nothing has been said,” the union said this week.

The Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner claims that paying the officers what they are owed will “take time” and finding the money isn’t easy.

“It is in a spirit of dialogue and mutual trust that we will provide concrete responses to our security forces,” he said.

However, the police do not appear to be buying into the rhetoric and a “blue vest” protest now appears to be imminent.

Although many police officers and protesters have been clashing—often violently—over the past few weeks, many of the officers have found compassion for the yellow vests.

“Most cops have ‘yellow vests’ among their close circles or at least people who sympathize with the movement, it’s not easy to be on the other side of the barricade every day,” a police source told Le Monde newspaper.

Backing up this notion is the fact that police have been seen on video removing their helmets and joining in with the yellow vests in solidarity.

As TFTP reported earlier this month, despite the violence, many of the police officers in France understood the anger coming from the citizens. Instead of clashing with the peaceful protesters, many of the officers were seen joining them in solidarity.

In at least two different cases, police were seen on video removing their helmets to show the people that they were on their side.

French Policemen Forced to Run Away from Yellow Vests in Paris

Source:  TeleSUR
December 24 2-18

french police run awayA police motorcycle officer pulls a gun during a demonstration of
the “yellow vests” movement on Champs Elysees in Paris | Photo: Reuters

The government has been actively using the violence of a few dozens of the protesters in a bid to discredit the entire movement.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for “order” on Sunday after the sixth weekend of “yellow vest” anti-government protests that saw a violent confrontation between protesters and the police in Paris.

RELATED:  Portugal’s Yellow Vests to Protest Against Social Inequity

Speaking during a visit to the Saharan state of Chad where he was visiting French troops serving in a counter-terrorism force, Macron said: “There must be order now, calm and harmony. Our country needs it.”

The 41-year-old former bank executive has struggled to tamp down the anger of the working poor in small-town and rural France over falling spending power and policies seen as tilted towards the rich.

Nearly 40,000 people took part in a sixth round of nationwide protests on Saturday, according to the interior ministry — around half the number who demonstrated a week earlier. Many people took to social media complaining about the police cordon impeding them to reach the demonstration.

In Paris, the protests were mainly peaceful, but as evening fell, violence broke out again on the iconic Champs Elysees avenue when policemen started violently evicting peaceful protesters with tear gas and grenades.

In one incident that was widely used by the government to discredit the whole movement, three police officers on motorbikes were forced to make a hasty escape after coming under attack near the Champs Elysees from demonstrators who threw paving stones and other objects at them.

A video of the incident, which was widely shared on social media, showed one officer pulling his gun and pointing it at the advancing protesters. He and his two colleagues — one of whom had his motorbike knocked to the ground — then made their getaway.

The video showed that, seconds before the attack, the police had lobbed stun grenades at a group of protesters, who were some distance away.

Speaking to the BFMTV channel, Macron said those responsible for the violence would face “the most severe” legal punishment.

From there the protests quickly morphed into a full-scale revolt against Macron’s policies, his aloof, top-down governing style, and the political class as a whole.

A total of 142 people were detained and 19 taken into police custody in the capital, including one of leaders of the movement, Eric Drouet.

Drouet was released on parole on Sunday and will face trial on June 5 for “carrying a prohibited category D weapon,” a judicial source told AFP.

At least ten people have died in incidents linked to the demonstrations, mostly in accidents at roadblocks set up by the protesters.