French “yellow vest” protesters mount pre-Christmas protest against Macron
24 December 2018
On Saturday, tens of thousands of “yellow vest” protesters demonstrated in France, amid a growing strike wave in neighboring Spain and in Portugal, where protesters also donned yellow vests. Thousands of people joined protest marches in France’s major cities, or blockaded highway intersections and France’s borders with Spain, Italy or Germany, to express their opposition to Macron and the European Union (EU).
According to the Interior Ministry, there were 2,000 “yellow vest” demonstrators in Paris, where protesters divided themselves between the Champs-Élysées and Montmartre, after having tricked police into thinking they were marching on Versailles. The authorities had preemptively shut down the Versailles Palace, next to which they stationed water cannons. In the provinces, according to official figures, thousands demonstrated in Bordeaux, Toulouse and Lille, while hundreds protested in Nantes, Marseille and Lyon.
As usual, the security forces reacted with violent repression. In Paris they arrested Eric Drouet, a truck driver who helped launch the “yellow vest” protests on Facebook, alleging that he had a “sort of nightstick.” Another widely circulated video showed a policeman drawing his pistol and taking aim at protesters after throwing stun grenades unprovoked at the protesters.
The mobilization was a rebuke to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who last week declared that on the “yellow vest” protests, “It’s enough,” and ordered police to smash highway blockades. After more than a month of protests and violent police repression of demonstrators, however, the movement is still very widely popular. It has 70 percent…