French state prepares crackdown for fifth Saturday of “yellow vest” protests
15 December 2018
In the lead-up to the fifth successive Saturday of mass “yellow vest” demonstrations across France today, the government of President Emmanuel Macron is signaling a new wave of violent police crackdowns on protesters.
In Paris, police prefect Michael Delpuech told the radio station RTL that the response today would be “about the same” as last Saturday. More than 1,700 people were rounded up in mass arrests across the country, 1,083 of them in Paris alone, while police kettled and baton-charged protesters and assaulted them with stun grenades, bean-bag bullets, water cannon and tear gas. Images of elderly protesters with their heads split by police assaults have been shared widely on social media.
Delpuech said 8,000 riot police will be deployed in the capital, along with 14 armored cars, which before last Saturday had never been used by police in Paris. Approximately 90,000 government forces are being deployed around the country. In Toulouse, between 400 and 600 police are being readied, with two water cannon trucks, a helicopter, and armed tanks placed on standby.
In Troyes, a city of 60,000 located 90 miles south-east of Paris, the police prefect released a statement yesterday outlawing all protests in the city center, and threatening anyone who violates the edict with 6 months’ jail and a 7,500 euro fine.
Reports indicate that a similar number of people are expected in the demonstrations as last week, when over 160,000 people protested across the country. Demonstrators overwhelmingly rejected Macron’s attempts to end the protests by scrapping his earlier proposed fuel tax increase, and a speech by the former investment banker on Monday,…