Thousands of Yellow Vests returned to the streets of France on Saturday—and were met with harsh repression.
Police fired volleys of teargas and arrested more than 250 people in Paris.
Anne, a teacher, told Socialist Worker, “You have to overcome the fear of Covid-19 and the threats of the police to go on the streets.
“I could not stay at home. President Macron rules for the rich, and he has put the corporations before our health during the pandemic.
“Now he is stepping up the talk of security and giving presents to the bosses.”
Several areas of the capital were barred to demonstrators.
But protesters gathered at the starting points of two authorised marches.
One set off without incident, but at the other police launched repeated assaults.
They made scores of arrests for “carrying items that could be used as weapons”—including an empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s whisky.
Delphine, an intensive care nurse, told the Revolution Permanente website, “I am a white coat but above all a Yellow Vest.
“The common enemy is the government.”
The Yellow Vest movement emerged in 2018 as a focus for deep bitterness over inequality.
Its return to large scale protest is a sign of developing class anger.
One protester, a 50 year old civil servant, said, “social and economic robbery” and “our fundamental freedoms under attack” drove him onto the streets.
Pensioners Pascale and Patrick, who had travelled to Paris from Crolles in south east France, said “the movement isn’t running out of steam.”
“We don’t want this world for our children and grandchildren. We’re anti-capitalist, anti-system, former hippies and now Yellow Vests.” Elsewhere hundreds of protesters gathered in the southwestern city Toulouse, despite a ban.
Police tried to disperse the group with tear gas, as they did in Lyon.
People also gathered in cities including Marseille, Lille, Nantes, Nice, Bordeaux and Strasbourg.
“I didn’t back the yellow vests at first but things have only got worse for people in poverty,” said a protester in Toulouse.
There are diverse politics among the Yellow Vests.
But there were signs of a generally radical mood.
Right wing “comedian” Jean-Marie Bigard tried to join the Paris march.
He was met with shouts of “sexist” and “homophobe” and was forced to seek refuge in a pizzeria before fleeing.
A national strike and dozens of demonstrations called by several trade union and student federations were set for Thursday this week.
It will be an important test of whether workers and protest movements can develop the strength to defeat Macron and the bosses.
Lukashenko looks to Russia for help
Belarusian protesters humiliated Aleksander Lukashenko ahead of a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday.
At least 100,000 people came out onto the streets of Minsk, the sixth week of monster marches since a rigged election.
Video footage showed masked, unmarked cops grabbing female protesters out of the crowd and throwing them into vans.
As the movement shows no sign of abating despite repression, Lukashenko is hoping to gain support from Russia.
The price for Putin’s support would be a closer “state union” between the two countries, a proposal that Lukashenko rejected in January.
The Russian state also wants to loot Belarus’s state-owned companies.
Meanwhile, liberal opposition leaders look to the West for support.
But Western states had been willing to build closer economic and military ties with the Lukashenko regime.
Unofficial strikes by thousands of workers could break the stalemate, force out Lukashenko and open the possibility of a genuine alternative.
Protests against cop murder
A brutal police murder has sparked furious protests in Colombia.
Javier Ordonez was tasered more than ten times and then strangled by police.
He was allegedly found drinking alcohol outdoors in Colombia’s capital Bogota last Wednesday.
In a video shared on social media, Ordonez is shown begging for his life and shouting, “Please, no more, I’m suffocating.”
He was rushed to hospital where he later died.
Colombia’s defence minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said, “The national police apologise for any violation of the law or ignorance of regulations by any members of the institution.”
Over 300 protesters gathered outside the police station where Ordonez was taken last Thursday night.
Chants of “Cerdos asesinos” meaning “murderer pigs” rang out.
At least seven people are reported to have died at the hands of the police since protests began.