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'Gilets Jaunes' Act 17, is the protest movement flagging or recharging?

Champs de Mars, Paris on a brighter day in 2016
Champs de Mars, Paris on a brighter day in 2016 RFI Tiếng Việt/Minh Anh.

The Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Jackets, the ongoing anti-government protest, kicked off a 17th consecutive weekend of action on Friday night on the chic and touristy Champs de Mars, at the foot of the iconic Eiffel Tower. About thirty or so militants were moved on by police. The movement had planned the sit-in would last till Sunday. 


On Friday night, police confiscated protestors tents pitched on the chic and touristy Champs de Mars, after about a hundred demonstrators tried to launch the sit-in with an outdoors sleep-in.

The Gilets Jaunes have announced a march down the Champs-Elysées on Saturday, and another demonstration in the Jardin du Luxembourg on the Left Bank. They said they are also marching for equal rights for women to mark Friday's International Women's Day and to " unite all the movements."

Meanwhile, Charles de Gaulle-Roissy Airport is another potential target area for a Gilets-Jaunes protest against further privatising the firm, ADP which runs CDG-Roissy, Le Bourget and Orly airports. The FrenchState has a more than 60 percent stake in the firm.

Demonstrations this weekend are due to take place in Paris, near the Champs-Elysées, known for its shops, restaurants and cinema halls.

The Gilets Jaunes protestors have said they demonstrate in the cities of Lyon, Strasbourg, Lille, Bordeaux, and the towns of Montpellier, Avignon, Quimper and Puy-en-Velay.

The movement has made roundabouts their favourite rallying point all over France. The leaders of the movement, such as Priscilla Ludosky and Maxime Nicolle say their aim is to be seen and heard. They consider the government's responses to their greivances are not "real measures".

Fewer demonstrators have turned out in the past couple of weekends compared to the early peak of street protests in November 2018. At the start of the movement, more than 280,000 people turned out over one weekend.

Last week's demonstrations mustered some 39,000 demonstrators according to the French interior ministry, four thousand in Paris. The still angry protestors dispute the figures.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that his "Grand Débat" will continue beyond the original end-date of 15 March 2019.

His outreach operation has taken him to meet local officials and ordinary French people in the furthest reaches of France in recent weeks, to hear their points of view. The government is then supposed to consider all the comments and see where and how it might respond.


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