Sporadic clashes with police marred Yellow Vests protests in Toulouse, the city chosen as the ‘capital’ of this week’s anti-government marches in France. Act 22 is the first since a controversial anti-rioting law took effect.
Several thousand protesters took part in the demonstration in Toulouse on Saturday, marking the 22nd consecutive week of the “gilets jaunes” movement. Smaller rallies involving hundreds of people happened in capital Paris, and other French cities.
Unlike some earlier protest gatherings, no major rioting has occurred so far this weekend. The police in Toulouse was filmed deploying tear gas and some clashes were reported.
But otherwise, the protest seems peaceful…
…and more jovial than full of rage
Some participants used the occasion to show support to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was arrested on Thursday in London.
This week a new controversial anti-rioting law came into force in France after the country’s Constitutional Council partially censured it. Some of its provisions, including one that bans covering one’s face during a mass gathering, was criticized by human rights organizations. Some of the protesters on Saturday apparently ignored it by wearing gas masks and other gear.
The protest movement is meant to keep pressure on the French government despite it officially declaring on Monday an end to a three-month period of public debate on its economic policies. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government needs to digest some two million online contributions and 10,000 hours of town hall meetings before formulating a path forward.
The continued protests were ignited by a hike in fuel taxes last November, which prompted the protesters to adopt the now-iconic motorist visibility vest as their symbol. It soon escalated into a massive movement against President Emmanuel Macron’s business-friendly austerity policies.
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