As it happened: Yellow Vests unwavering after Macron's Great Debate launch
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Yellow Vest protesters returned to the streets for Act 10 of Saturday of nationwide protests. 84,000 braved chilly temperatures in a snub to President Emmanuel Macron's launch of the Great National Debate, with demonstrations taking place in a largely orderly fashion, despite some flare-ups of violence.
- 21:00 - And as the gilets jaunes appear mostly to have returned home, we'll follow suit. Thanks for following the updates. Stay tuned to RFI English for all the updates until next Saturday -- Act 11.
- 20:50 - So the Yellow Vest protests have not dropped off, compared to last weekend, despite President Macron's launch of the Great National Debate. As RFI's Jan van der Made found out, many of those who turned out for Act 10 today reject his programme of two months of town hall style meetings across France and say they will continue to protest.
- 20:30 - Despite the chaos in Angers, and incidents in other pockets like Toulouse, Bordeaux, Caen and Rouen, today's protests took place in a largely orderly fashion. Arrests were slightly down. Turnout slightly up. Though the "1 million in Paris" event organisers might be a little disappointed (perhaps they meant 1 million across France?).
- 20.20 - Violent scenes in the western city of Angers today, with vandals tearing down traffic lights, smashing in shop fronts and lighting fires. Pavement stones ripped up and thrown at police, firefighters also attacked. The mayor says many of the 3,000 or so who turned out travelled from outside the city to cause trouble.
- 20:00 - Of the 84,000 who turned out today across France, 10,000 of them were in Toulouse - more than in Paris, which saw 7,000, according to the police.
- 19:50 - The last armoured police vehicles have left the Esplanade des Invalides without any major incidents reported in the capital.
- 19:45 - The police say there have been 42 arrests in Paris, with 17 people detained. In Bordeaux 49 arrests, 10 in Toulouse.
- 19:30 - The interior ministry says 84,000 people turned for Act 10 of the Yellow Vest protests, slightly higher than last week.
- 18:40 - Shop windows destroyed and businesses looted in central Toulouse.
- 18:35 - Calm reported around Invalides after the clashes between riot police and some of the 8,000 people who walked 14km through Paris during "Act X" of the gilets jaunes.
- 18:25 - Record 10,000 demonstrators in Toulouse, according to police who reported 10 arrests. The protesters chanted anti-government slogans as they went through the city centre. A historic building was smeared with graffiti as police whipped out the water cannon to disperse some demonstrators who were hurling missiles.
- 17:25 - Demonstration in Bordeaux descends into violence for the 10th consecutive week after some 4,000 protesters march through the city. Police deploy water cannon on groups who have replaced their gilets jaunes with hoods and masks.
- 16:30 - Clashes between riot police and demonstrators at the Boulevard des Invalides. Police use tear gas and water cannon to clear protesters wearing face masks, who also let off flares.
- 16:15 - Interior ministry says that at 2pm there were 27,000 people on the streets of France for the 10th round of Yellow Vests protests. Around 7,000 of them were in Paris. These are not definitive figures.
- 15:51 – Lyon: police use tear gas to prevent groups of demonstrators from gaining access to the main shopping district. Around 1,000 protesters marched through the city amid chants of "Macron out".
- 15:15 – More reports of clashes as the day goes on. Tear gas in Caen, as rubbish bins are set on fire.
- 15:00 – Elsewhere across France, around 2,500 protesters have gathered in Angers, southeast of Rennes. Similar numbers in the southern city of Béziers.
- 14:50 – The tear gas is out in Rennes, western France, as police try to push contain hundreds of protesters on rue d’Orleans.
- 14:25 – We've been out on the street talking to some of the Yellow Vests to see if President Macron's Great National Debate has convinced people the government will listen to their complaints. The overwhelming response: "Non."
- 13:55 – The self-declared "media of the Yellow Vests", Vécu, has shared an event for a women's gilets jaunes march tomorrow, Sunday 17 January, in the capital. The rally is to begin at 11am on the Champ de Mars, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
- 13:20 – No sign of tear gas or major disruption so far in Paris, as protesters head east from Invalides. Gilets jaunes organisers have called on its members to bring flowers or candles to today's marches to remember those who have died or been hurt. Ten people have been killed since the first march on 17 November, and more than 2,000 hurt, including protesters and police.
La Marseillaise chantée par les #GiletsJaunes à #Paris qui rendent aussi hommage avec des fleurs aux personnes blessées et décédées en marge des manifestations. Pas convaincus par le #GrandDebatNational, ils demandent plus de pv d'achat et le RIC #LCI #La26 @LCI pic.twitter.com/eoJqbFV7MsMathilde Guenegan (@mguenegan) January 19, 2019
- 12:50 – An interesting read in the French satirical Charlie Hebdo (en anglais, s’il vous plait) says the disconnect between the ruling elite and the people has gotten seriously worse since 2017 – before Macron’s presidency – when a law came in that prevented locally elected mayors from also being members of parliament. “They had the advantage of being in touch with the reality of their electorate’s everyday lives and being able to transmit its demands to parliament. At least in principle.”
En #kiosque :Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) January 16, 2019
🔪#GrandDebatNational : «Gillette !» «Non, Wilkinson !»
🗳️#Démocratie : Les élites mal représentées par les #GiletsJaunes
✍️Exclusif : Une nouvelle inédite de @MagydCherfi
➡️ https://t.co/5SPrx5Rgmh pic.twitter.com/MFS6BSROZP
- 12:35 – Hundreds of protesters have begun gathering at the Esplanade des Invalides in central Paris, with some denouncing the Great Debate as a scam. Many were sceptical about the idea of Macron's series of Town Hall-style talks over the next two months, but the president won over mayors in Normandie, even receiving a standing ovation and praised for his endurance and grasp of local issues.
- 12:15 – According to the latest surveys, 56% of French people support the Yellow Vests. 70% think President Macron's Great National Debate will not satisfy their grievances.
- 11:55 – Last Saturday around 84,000 people participated in the Yellow Vest protest, with around 8,000 in Paris. Those figures are expected to be matched today, as organisers predict the movement is again on the rise. Two weeks ago, nationwide participation dipped to 50,000 after a steady decline from the 282,000 on Act 1 of the gilets jaunes on 17 November.
- 11:30 – Crowds of Yellow Vests are building slowly in freezing temperatures across Paris. Dozens have gathered at the top of the Champs-Elysees, chanting, "Macron resign!".
11:00 – “Citizens have the right to protest, journalists to inform!” Press freedom groups have gathered at the Place de la Republique in central Paris to denounce violence against journalists covering the Yellow Vest protest. Reporters Without Borders has started a petition to call for the gilets jaunes to refrain from attacking journalists. The petition has been signed by several news and photo agencies.
Journalists against violence
🇫🇷 Paris Reporters Sans Frontière (RSF) dénonce les violences contre les journalistes place de République 11.09 h pic.twitter.com/EgzQ95GSooGilles Klein (@GillesKLEIN) January 19, 2019
10:50 – This week there have been calls to ban police use of non-lethal weapons, including rubber bullets, stun grenades and gas canisters, with at least 1,000 protesters injured – many requiring serious medical treatment – in the past two months of Yellow Vest unrest. On the police side there have also been around 1,000 injured.
10:35 – Two gilets jaunes marches have been officially registered with the Paris Prefecture. The first is scheduled to begin on the left bank at Invalides and will move on to Montparnasse, rue de Rennes, boulevard St Michel and Place d’Italie before making its way back to Invalides. A second will gather at the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysées avenue and join the first march at Invalides.
10:15 – Tight security checks are being carried out at major train stations and at toll ways leading into Paris and other major cities.
10:00 – 5,000 police and gendarmes are maintaining security in Paris, with the areas around the Elysée Palace and the Place de la Concorde cordoned off. There is also a strong police presence at the National Assembly.
- 9:45 – At least ten cities across the country are preparing for large demonstrations, including the capital, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon, Clermont,-Ferrand, Dijon, Toulon, Avignon, and Béziers.
09:30 – France awakes to another Saturday with the police out in force in anticipation of Act 10 of the gilets jaunes. Some 80,000 police and gendarmes are deployed across the country – about the same number of Yellow Vests who are expected to take to the streets today.