The 'yellow vests' who are experimenting with direct democracy

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It is 5.30pm on a Wednesday, darkness has just fallen and the general assembly can get underway. Around 50 members of the “yellow vest” (“gilet jaune” in French) social movement that has swept France in recent weeks are gathered around braziers in front of the hut, also known as the “cabin of solidarity”. It is a hut made of planks of wood built on November 20th in the days after the start of the movement on the main square in Commercy, a short distance from the town hall. A substantial agenda will be examined over two hours at the assembly, punctuated by regular votes.