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Yellow Vests announce 'decisive' action in March ahead of Act 15 of protests

Yellow Vest demonstrators on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, 16 February 2019.
Yellow Vest demonstrators on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, 16 February 2019. Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Yellow Vest protesters are gearing up for the latest anti-government demonstrations across France on Saturday, 23 February, with calls in Paris to gather on the Champs-Elysées. The Yellow Vests have already announced what they say will be a “decisive” act in the movement the second weekend of March.

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In Paris, there are calls on Facebook for gatherings on the Champs-Elysées, which last week saw 5,000 demonstrators, and 4,000 the week before.

Eric Drouet, a controversial leading figure in the movement, and a fixture in Parisian demonstrations, said he would be there. On Facebook he evoked the possibility of protesters at the Salon de l’agriculture, Paris’ annual agricultural show, which opens this weekend.

The show is a rite of passage for French politicians, who make pubic visits to meet farmers, one of France’s biggest economic sectors.

Beyond Paris

  • Demonstrations are expected in Bordeaux and Toulouse, which have consistently drawn Yellow Vest crowds.
     
  • Authorities in the central city of Clermont-Ferrand are expecting 3,000 to 10,000 demonstrators, and are warning of possible violence. The police will be deployed in larger than usual numbers, and the city’s 660 shared bicycles will be removed from the 52 stations. Several businesses have said they would stay closed on Saturday.
     
  • In Rennes, in Brittany, the Yellow Vests are planning an “inter-regional” gathering of demonstrators from the neighbouring areas. Authorities are anticipating 2,000 to 3,000 people, and deploying 300 police officers. The last such demonstration in Rennes, on 19 January, turned violent, with several people injured.
     
  • A “citizen’s picnic” is planned in Chambord, in the Loire valley, where French President Emmanuel Macron celebrated his 40th birthday. The organisers say they want to show that Chateau de Chambord belongs to the people, too. In attendance, according to the organisers, will be Yellow Vest figures Priscillia Ludosky and Ingrid Levavasseur, as well a descendant of King Louis XIV, Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon.

Decicive act 17?

The Yellow Vests are already looking ahead to the weekend of 9 March, with a call for a “decisive” act, over three days, Friday-Sunday.

There are still few details about what will happen. The Facebook event has attracted over 800 responses, and nearly 4,000 marks of interest, and has been promoted by Eric Drouet and Jérôme Rodrigues, who lost an eye during the demonstrations in Paris on 26 January.

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