The French Yellow Vests are preparing for major mobilisations, in particular on 16 March.
They were expected to join marches on International Women’s Day on Friday this week and to make women’s rights one of the themes of the mobilisations a day later.
Some groups are also backing the student walkouts for the climate on 15 March—as is the CGT union federation.
Then 16 March will be the four-month anniversary of the birth of the movement. It is also the end of president Emmanuel Macron’s “great debate”, a fake attempt to portray the government as listening to the protesters.
A call has gone out for Yellow Vests from across France to converge on Paris for a great demonstration on 16 March.
The determination to build such demonstrations was strengthened when Macron announced recently that, despite austerity, he was earmarking £31.5 billion for an upgrade of nuclear and conventional weaponry.
Some activists are pushing to bring together the Yellow Vesrts and the anti-racist march planned in Paris that day as part of the international day of mobilisations.
Then on 19 March there will be a national strike called by four union federations and the students’ and school students’ unions.
Stephanie, a teacher, told Socialist Worker, “It could be a great ten days from the International Women’s Day marches to the national strike. But it will require a lot of building. We have to push the union leaders but not rely on them.
“It’s amazing how determined the Yellow Vests are. But now we need a big leap forward.”
The numbers taking part in last Saturday’s Yellow Vest protests, the sixteenth successive weekend of action, are highly contested.
The state said 39,300 took part. Some Yellow Vest groups said it was 92,000.
There were mobilisations of hundreds or thousands in Paris, Rouen, Bordeaux, Caen, Perpignan, Montpellier, Grenoble, Tarbes, Dinan, Lyon, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille, Toulouse, Arles, Nantes, Le Cannet-des-Maures and many other places.
In Colmar protesters put a giant yellow vest on the replica of the Statue of Liberty in the city, birthplace of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, sculptor of the statue in New York.
The police were as thuggish as ever.
An onlooker in Paris had most of his mouth and many teeth destroyed by a flashball shot.
In Bourdeaux Loic Prud’homme, an MP of the left wing France Insoumise (France Unbowed) group, was beaten as he walked away from a demonstration.
But repression has not broken the movement. Instead there is the potential to hit a higher level.