'Yellow vests': government violence is stoking violence in the country

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On Monday January 7th the French prime minster Édouard Philippe announced plans to boost the array of security powers at the state's disposal with, in particular, a new law against rioters and undeclared demonstrations, plus preventative targeting of protestors presumed to be violent. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel points out that the prime minister did not utter a word about police violence, demonstrating that in making this repressive decision the government has turned its back on the sometimes vague democratic demands made by the 'yellow vest' protestors.

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It was just over a week ago and already it seems like an eternity. On the evening of December 31st, President Emmanuel Macron, speaking from the Élysée, appeared to understand the anger which had erupted in 2018. An anger, he said in his traditional New Year's Eve presidential message to the nation, which “came from afar”, an anger which “whatever its abuses and its excesses” expressed the desire to “build a better future”.