Justice

Prison for yellow vest protestors guilty of Dordogne fire attacks

Yellow Vest protesters (Gilets Jaunes) in Angers, France, 2019 (illustration).
Yellow Vest protesters (Gilets Jaunes) in Angers, France, 2019 (illustration). REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A court in France's southwestern area of Dordogne has sentenced five people to jail terms for their involvement in Yellow Vest protests in 2018. They were accused of setting fire to public property. The announcement comes as a second trial opens in Paris over the vandalism of the Arc de Triomphe.

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The five accused, three men and two women, were aged between 28 and 50 at the time of the incidents, in the south-western Dordogne department, in late December, 2018.

They were charged with being "part of a criminal group", and of "damaging the property of a third party".

At the trial in Bergerac, the ringleader was sentenced to 14 months in jail. Two others were given 12 and 6 month terms respectively. The remaining accused were sentenced to two years suspended.

The court recognised that the five were from "modest professional backgrounds," and that none had a previous conviction. Their association dated from the early yellow vest protests at various roundabouts in Bergerac and its surroundings.

The "Yellow Vest" movement is named after the high-visibility vests  motorists are required to carry in their cars. Many protesters stationed themselves at motorway toll booths.
The "Yellow Vest" movement is named after the high-visibility vests  motorists are required to carry in their cars. Many protesters stationed themselves at motorway toll booths. AFP

Between 23 and 30 December 2018, several fires were deliberately started in the south of the department.

One targeted a public building, another the headquarters of the Bergerac city council's technical services. The post box of the town hall in Colombier was also set ablaze.

The five were arrested following a three-month police investigation.

Meanwhile, in Paris, the trial of ten yellow vest protestors accused of various crimes associated with the vandalism of the Arc de Triomphe in December 2018 is underway with a decision expected on Friday.

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