Socialist Worker

Yellow Vests take on the cops as protest numbers rise

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2651

Travellers joined with Yellow Vests in the 23rd successive Saturday of protests in France last Saturday

Travellers joined with Yellow Vests in the 23rd successive Saturday of protests in France last Saturday (Pic: Photothèque Rouge /Martin Noda)


Riot police and Yellow Vest protesters battled in the centre of Paris last Saturday as numbers on the streets rose for the second week in a row.

Motorbikes, bins, bicycles and cars were set alight on roads and pavements around Place de la Republique.

Paris police said authorities detained over 140 people during the protests and carried out spot checks on more than 14,000 people trying to enter the capital to demonstrate.

The twenty-third successive Saturday of protests saw anger at the attempt by president Emmanuel Macron to demand “national unity” in the wake of the fire at Notre Dame cathedral.

Some carried banners attacking the super-rich who have pledged almost £1 billion to rebuild the cathedral.

One demonstrator said, “There are millions for stones and there is no money for the people in the street? The homeless? The badly paid?”

Marie, a local government worker, told Socialist Worker, “It’s taken huge courage to keep fighting for more than five months. The police have become more thuggish because they know they have Macron’s support.

“It is great that the demonstrations continue but we need to hit Macron harder. That must mean strikes.”

Sections of Yellow Vests have joined with groups of organised workers for “a common front” against a government that “wants to destroy everything”.

Some sections of the CGT union federation, Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Unbowed left party and some of the Yellow Vests want to “consolidate and converge all ongoing struggles”.

“We want to see this date of 27 April as a major turning point,” said Emmanuel Lepine from the CGT chemicals section. This is an implied criticism of the failure of the union leaders to back protests.

Major mobilisations are also being prepared for 1 May and for another national day of strikes and protests on 9 May.


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