France’s “yellow vest” protesters brave repression and mass arrests
Alex Lantier and Kumaran Ira
9 December 2018
For the fourth consecutive Saturday, “yellow vest” (gilet jaunes) protestors demonstrated yesterday across France against the rightwing government of Emmanuel Macron. They did so in defiance of ominous threats of state violence and a massive mobilization of security forces.
Clearly, the French President’s attempts to end the protests, first by postponing the gas tax hikes that set the movement into motion and then by canceling them outright, failed. The demands being raised—for social equality and against militarism and dictatorship—show that this is a movement directed towards the defense of workers’ interests, not just in France, but also internationally.
Yesterday’s protests paralyzed France and large sections of Belgium. The Minister of the Interior reported that 125,000 “yellow vests” protested in France. In the major cities where demonstrations were organized most shops were closed. On Saturday evening, the Vinci highway network reported “significant disruptions” and slowdowns on over 20 highways, many of them as the result of “yellow vest” protests and barricades.
Demonstrations took place in many cities, including Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, St. Etienne, Perpignan, Marseille, Avignon, Nantes, Brest, Quimper, Lille and Rennes.
Some 400 people were arrested in Brussels during a “yellow vests” rally of 1,000 protesters. This is the second “yellow vest” demonstration in the Belgian capital, directed against rising fuel prices and the increased cost of living. The protestors are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel.
Unrest has also spread to the Belgian provinces. “We must take from…