Keyword: yellow vests

Dear Mr President: when letters to François Hollande announced France's current social unrest

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A photomontage sent to François Hollande: "Here lies my salary, born at the beginning of the month and already dead on the 10th." © DR A photomontage sent to François Hollande: "Here lies my salary, born at the beginning of the month and already dead on the 10th." © DR

During his 2012-2017 term in office, France’s socialist president François Hollande received a total of about one million letters and emails from members of the public, several thousands of which have been studied by political sciences lecturers Michel Offerlé and Julien Fretel. In this interview, Michel Offerlé explains that while the correspondence contained a large number of individual demands for help, complaints over financial difficulties and taxes, and insults about the head of state’s disconnection with the people, they in part collectively represent the social group that has erupted into the ‘yellow vest’ protest movement over falling standards of living which is shaking the current presidency of Emmanuel Macron.

French riot police deploy assault rifles at 'yellow vest' demonstrations

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CRS riot police with HKG36 assault rifles in central Paris on January 12th. © DR CRS riot police with HKG36 assault rifles in central Paris on January 12th. © DR

A document obtained by Mediapart reveals that the national director of France’s CRS riot police ordered the deployment of Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles during nationwide demonstrations on January 12th by the ‘yellow vest’ movement. The militarisation of policing tactics during the recurrent demonstrations, in protest over falling living standards for low- and middle-income earners, includes an almost systematic use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused numerous serious injuries. Karl Laske reports on the arsenal employed and the dramatic consequences of the escalating violence.

French protests: the urgent need to ban use of maiming 'crowd control' weapons

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A 'yellow vest' protestor lies injured in Paris, January 12th 2019. © Reuters A 'yellow vest' protestor lies injured in Paris, January 12th 2019. © Reuters

France’s ‘yellow vest’ protestors were back on the streets this weekend, as their movement calling for better living standards for low- and middle-income earners held its tenth nationwide day of action. While some demonstrations have been marred by violence from extremist groups, there is mounting criticism of aggressive police tactics. These notably include the widespread and often indiscriminate use of rubber bullets and stun grenades that have caused, according to several estimations, around 100 serious and life-changing injuries to protestors and bystanders. Mediapart co-editor Carine Fouteau argues here why these highly dangerous weapons, which France is one of very few countries to deploy in such situations, should be immediately banned from crowd-control policing.

'Yellow vests' in tenth day of action across France

The French interior ministry estimated around 84,000 people took part in nationwide 'yellow vest' marches on Saturday in protest at falling living standards for low- and middle-income earners, the same amount as last weekend and a show of force in the face of government measures aimed at appeasing the movement.

Macron derides section of poor at launch of national debates

French President Emmanuel Macron held a marathon seven-hour conference with local mayors in Normandy on Tuesday, the start of a national consultation on policy issues follwing the rolling 'yellow vest' protests, but caused controversy with disparaging comments about some in economic difficulty.

The 'yellow vests' who are experimenting with direct democracy

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The first appeal made by the 'yellow vests at Commercy in north-east France. © DR The first appeal made by the 'yellow vests at Commercy in north-east France. © DR

Two months ago in the small town of Commercy in north-east France a group of 'yellow vest' protestors created a citizens popular assembly. It is gaining supporters: on January 26th around 30 delegations from across France will gather in the town. François Bonnet reports on a local experiment in what some yellow vests define as “libertarian municipalism”, a concept pioneered by American social theorist Murray Bookchin.

Macron launches national debate prompted by 'yellow vest' protests

In an open letter published in the French press on Monday, President Emmanuel Macron has set in motion a three-month series of debates in which citizens are invited to local venues to air their opinions and grievences about government policies, called in a move to appease the continuing 'yellow vest' protests against falling living standards among low- and middle-income earners. 

Clashes in Paris as number of 'yellow vest' protesters rises

Some 59 people were questioned, including for having unlawful weapons and participating in a group with the goal of committing violent crimes.

Yellow vests knock out 60% of all speed cameras in France

France's interior minister Christophe Castaner said the wilful damage was a threat to road safety and put lives in danger.

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

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A work by artist Pascal Boyart, alias PBOY, in homage to the 'yellow vests', on the walls of Paris, January 7th 2019. © Reuters A work by artist Pascal Boyart, alias PBOY, in homage to the 'yellow vests', on the walls of Paris, January 7th 2019. © Reuters

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.

French official due to lead 'yellow vests' debate quits in pay row

Chantal Jouanno stood down after furore over revelation she is paid €14,700 a month to head France's National Commission for Public Debate.

Rival campaigns set up for French police and detained ex-boxer

Online campaigns began after former professional boxer handed himself in to police after he was filmed punching officers during protest in Paris.

Macron reeling as tough stance against 'yellow vests' backfires

What began as a rebellion over cost of living has morphed into something more perilous - an assault on his presidency and France's institutions.

Yellow vest protests: citizens and politicians battle for control of political agenda

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A yellow vest protest in Paris, December 15th 2018, calling for citizens initiative referendums. © Reuters A yellow vest protest in Paris, December 15th 2018, calling for citizens initiative referendums. © Reuters

One of the key demands made by the 'yellow vest', or 'gilet jaune', protestors in France is for the holding of what are called citizens initiative referendums. How exactly should such a demand be interpreted? In an interview with Mediapart academic Julien O'Miel, a specialist in participative democracy, sees it as a desire by citizens to take control of the political agenda. Pauline Graulle reports.

Clashes erupt in Paris as 'yellow vests' protest at unrepentant Macron

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux escaped from office through back door after protesters broke into compound and smashed vehicles.