New Year’s Eve became a time for reconciliation for French police and Yellow Vest protesters, who have been clashing with each other for weeks, but this time it’s a different story.
Around 250,000 people gathered on the Champs-Elysees on Monday night. Among them were about 200 Yellow Vest protesters who didn’t miss the chance to say ‘no’ to government policies even during the celebrations.
The atmosphere, however, differed from previous rallies. Several videos captured the protesters hugging police in full gear, wishing them all the best on the most magical night of the year. And the officers hugged back, first reluctantly, then more willingly.
This was in sharp contrast to past rallies, which were marred by violence, with police dispersing tear gas and water cannons against projectile-hurling and firecracker-burning protesters. Moments like these have been almost absent since the start of the demonstrations in mid-November.
“You have to admit that it’s cute, even if you notice the discomfort [on the faces of] some police officers,” one person noted.
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