Reports

  • French Yellow Vests bite the bullet to stand in local elections

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    Yellow Vests meet in the Vosges to plan electoral strategy. Yellow Vests meet in the Vosges to plan electoral strategy.

    This weekend, like every weekend for just more than a year, France’s ‘Yellow Vest’ demonstrators will hold their weekly nationwide protests over social inequalities, the declining living standards of low- and middle-income earners, the jobless and pensioners, against the privileges of the social and political elite, and for a greater participative exercise of democracy. But despite its stamina, many in the eclectic movement, which has no politically organised structure, are seeking a new way forward. In the Vosges département in north-east France, a fiefdom of the Right for decades, a group of 'Yellow Vests' have decided to bite the bullet and stand in local elections due in March 2020, a move that would once have been anathema to them. Mathilde Goanec reports from the Vosges.

  • Environmentalists battle against new yachting marina on France's Atlantic coast

    By PIERRE-YVES BULTEAU
    The protest on October 19th 2019 at La Roche-sur-Yon against the nearby marina on the French Atlantic coast. © P.-Y. B The protest on October 19th 2019 at La Roche-sur-Yon against the nearby marina on the French Atlantic coast. © P.-Y. B

    After sixteen years and much deliberation and delay, the French state has finally given the green light for a marina to be built at Brétignolles-sur-Mer on the west coast of France. The surprise decision has re-ignited long-standing opposition to the scheme amid fears it will harm biodiversity on that section of coastline. Now protestors have set up a camp near the site and staged a peaceful demonstration. Pierre-Yves Bulteau reports.

  • Why Latin American migrants have been sleeping rough in a Paris suburb

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    Around 150 migrants from Latin America – Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic – are living in a makeshift street camp in a Paris suburb having recently been evicted from a disused warehouse in which they were squatting. Some came to France for a better life for their family, others for political reasons. But as Irene Casado reports, all the migrants, who include children and pregnant women, face an uncertain future faced with the indifference of the local mayor and the lack of suitable housing.

  • Taken for a ride: the angry mood of Deliveroo food couriers in France

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    A Deliveroo courier at the protest in Place de la République in central Paris on August 7th 2019. © Reuters/Charles Platiau A Deliveroo courier at the protest in Place de la République in central Paris on August 7th 2019. © Reuters/Charles Platiau

    Couriers working for the meal delivery service are angry at the new rates of pay that they now receive, which they say will leave many of them worse off than before. They are particularly upset that the minimum payment of 4.5 euros a delivery has been axed. Rouguyata Sall joined Deliveroo riders as they took their protest to local restaurants in central Paris.

  • A switch to mains for French Guiana’s Amerindians

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    French Guiana, which is both a département and a region of France, has a surface area equivalent to that of Ireland but a population of just 270,000, almost half of which is centred around its capital Cayenne. In the west of the region, close to the border with Surinam, is a vast forested land called Haut-Maroni which is home to the Amerindian Wayana, Teko et Apalai peoples, whose isolated villages were finally connected to a mobile phone network just four years ago. Now, after years of delays to a 12 million-euro project launched in 2009, they are finally being connected to an electricity network of local photovoltaic power plants, a development which promises to transform their daily lives. Marion Briswalter reports from Haut-Maroni.

  • 'Anger has turned to hate': French government and police mired in scandal of music reveller's death

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    A mural depicting Steve Maia Caniço and the incidents of the night of June 21st, painted on the riverside quai in Nantes where he disppeared. © Elisa Perrigueur A mural depicting Steve Maia Caniço and the incidents of the night of June 21st, painted on the riverside quai in Nantes where he disppeared. © Elisa Perrigueur

    The body of Steve Maia Caniço, 24, was finally found earlier this week in the River Loire in the town of Nantes, north-west France, close to where he apparently fell from a quayside amid a violent police charge on an overnight rave party on June 21st. The party was one of thousands held during the national Fête de la Musique street events, but turned sour after a confrontation with police who used stun and teargas grenades, Tasers and LBD rubber pellet guns to disperse the crowd. His confirmed death has further fuelled growing controversy over violent police tactics, which the government has defended, while an internal police report that found no link between Caniço’s fatal fall and the police assault has caused outrage among those present that night. “The authorities have transformed anger into hate,” said one of his friends, ahead of a demonstration planned for this weekend. Elisa Perrigueur reports from Nantes.

  • The hidden scandal of Tunisia's female farm workers killed on the roads

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    Rebah standing in front of her sister's makeshift hairdressing salon. © LB Rebah standing in front of her sister's makeshift hairdressing salon. © LB

    A number of fatal road accidents in April 2019 highlighted the plight of many female agricultural workers in the North African country. These women, who have long been regarded as a source of cheap exploitable labour and many of whom live in poverty, are effectively forced to take perilous journeys in the backs of pick-ups and lorries to their place of work. They are now hoping for changes in their work and living conditions. Lilia Blaise reports.

  • Life in the time of Brexit: an English village divided

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    The village of Widdington in Essex, eastern England, April 2019. © AP The village of Widdington in Essex, eastern England, April 2019. © AP

    In the well-heeled village of Widdington in rural Essex in eastern England, the residents are in a state of inner turmoil. Like the rest of the country this small community is pondering the issue of Brexit – which now faces a new deadline of the end of October 2019 – with passionate, engaging and ultimately irreconcilable arguments. Antoine Perraud reports.

  • 'Yellow Vests' stage national meeting as movement faces 'turning point'

    By Pierre-Yves Bulteau
    The outside of the community centre at Saint-Nazaire. © PYB The outside of the community centre at Saint-Nazaire. © PYB

    At the end of January 75 delegates from 'Yellow Vest' groups around France met at an 'assembly of assemblies' at Commercy in the north east of the country. From April 5th to 7th some 300 delegates will converge on a community centre in Saint-Nazaire in the west for a second such national assembly. The three-day gathering based on “exemplary fraternity” has required lots of last-minute local preparations and comes at what some describe as a key point in the protest movement's short life. Pierre-Yves Bulteau reports.

  • In Mexico 'you can die just for being a woman'

    By Marie Hibon
    In April 2013 a man displays the photos of women who have died or disappeared in Ecatepec, Mexico. © Henry Romero (Reuters) In April 2013 a man displays the photos of women who have died or disappeared in Ecatepec, Mexico. © Henry Romero (Reuters)

    Figures show that in the month of January more than ten women a day were murdered in Mexico. In some areas of the country, say women's rights campaigners, women are disposed of like “a piece of garbage”. Meanwhile to the dismay of local associations the new left-wing government in the country is not treating the issue as a priority. Marie Hibon reports on the appalling situation facing many women in Mexico.