Yellow Vests ‘Act 30’: Tensions & tear gas fly high in southern France (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

08-06-19 06:07:00,

France’s Yellow Vests took to the streets to protest government policies for the 30th weekend in a row. Tensions were particularly high in Montpellier, where clashes between demonstrators and police erupted.

Some 2,000 protesters gathered in the southern French city, considered to be one of the main strongholds of the whole Yellow Vests movement, according to police figures. The demonstration promptly escalated into clashes with police, at least 6 people were reportedly detained.

Police said the protesters pelted them with various projectiles. Law enforcement responded with tear gas that engulfed the narrow streets of the city’s center.

Police officers were present at the scene in large numbers – and backed up by truck-mounted water cannons.

Some officers were also spotted wielding hand-held fire hoses, dousing the protesters with water.

Several people have been injured during the clashes, footage from the scene indicates.

Some rowdy protesters have set dumpsters on fire, trying to erect barricades, as well as damaged several ATMs and other property.

According to official figures, some 3,700 protesters, including 1,100 in Paris, took to the streets on Saturday across France. Given the fact that at least 2,000 gathered in Montpellier alone, such numbers are likely subject to an update.

READ MORE: March of the mutilated: Injured Yellow Vests protest police brutality in Paris (VIDEO)

Clashes between the Yellow Vests and law enforcement have also been registered in the commune of Drancy, located in the north-eastern suburbs of Paris. The protesters tried to erect a barricade in a street, but it was promptly swarmed and dismantled by riot police, footage from the scene shows.

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France: The Yellow Vests’ Missed Opportunity

06-06-19 06:50:00,

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

The Yellow Vests movement (Gilets jaunes) began in November 2018. Prior to the first occupations of roundabouts across France, a petition taking a stand against the rise of fuel prices was posted on line by a member of the public. Almost a million signed the text which was the springboard for the launch of the longest social movement in post-war France. (At the time of publishing the piece, the weekly demonstrations across France were still going on).

The government’s decision in 2017 to cut the speed limit on country roads from 90 to 80km per hour was another factor in the rise of the Yellow Vests. People sympathetic to the movement saw it as a failure on the part of the government to understand the needs of rural residents who are totally reliant on their cars.

The movement soon made further claims of a ‘progressive’ nature centred around the high cost of living. The Yellow Vests demanded the reintroduction of the tax on wealth (arguing that taxation is unfair as it falls on the working and middle classes), the increase of the minimum wage, or the implementation of the Citizen’s Initiative referenda. Protestors immediately got personal and called for the resignation of President Macron.

There is no alternative

Apart from abandoning the decision to rise taxes on fuel, Macron did nothing to answer the movements’ claims, nor to assuage public discontent. He basically reiterated that there was no alternative to his neoliberal economic policies, and gave licence to the police to handle demonstrators with extreme brutality.

The longest social movement in French history (but not at all the most numerous in terms of participants), is also a new sociological phenomenon. The Yellow Vests for the most part are newcomers to militancy. They are not members of a political party or of a trade union, most do not vote and they reject the entrenched left/right cleavage.

The Yellow Vests are in employment, but they struggle to make ends meet. They mostly are middle-aged, and living in rural or peri-urban areas. Women are quite well represented among protestors, but the movement is overwhelmingly white. The Yellow Vests is indeed a Franco-French story which has failed to attract the populations from an ethnic background who are essentially concentrated in urban areas.

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Inside the Yellow Vests: What the Western media will not report (Part 2) | The Vineyard of the Saker

27-05-19 06:50:00,

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Desktop:Untitled.png

Background

When the words “Yellow Vests”/“Yellow Jackets”/“Gilets Jaunes” are heard or read by someone who is more inclined to read sources of information that cannot be described as mainstream/corporate media, they most likely will say “Ah yes, I know who they are/what it is!” and recount what they heard or saw in the past when this topic was popular… for about a month. Or more specifically, during November-December 2018 when images such as the one below (a still from this video) were being widely disseminated.

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:promo367939513.jpeg

Then the Venezuela coup attempt, or Brexit, or Assange, etc retakes centre stage and what is happening in France fades into the background. What I am describing is simply the nature of the “news” cycle, and not a pretention to its consumers.

Hence why in March 2019 I wrote an article (part 1) based on my own primary research that aimed to convey the most important events in the history of the Yellow Vests movement. Whilst the information presented in this article is far from being comprehensive, it is also unproductive to report as isolated events every single perceived drama that happens both on the ground and on social networks. For analytical purposes, it is much more efficient – in an era where Twitter dictates the speed and pattern of the flow of information – to concatenate information and to zoom out enough in order to capture enough context without entering the realm of ultra-metaphysical babble.

But of course, over 2 months has passed since this article was published, and the situation has traversed along many twists and turns since. But if the main aim of the movement is to remove the neoliberal butcher Macron and dismantle party politics in general, then the destination is still somewhere beyond the horizon. Instead of writing another chronology of events and focusing on visual cues, such as police violence and photos of large processions, in this article I will simply write ten conclusions featuring examples that can be made based on 28 (at the time of writing) straight Saturday’s of mobilisation. I should stress that they are in no particular order.

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Belgian Yellow Vests Clash With Riot Police On Election Day, Tear Gas Deployed

26-05-19 06:28:00,

Yellow Vest protesters and other activist groups clashed with police in Brussels on Sunday, the final day of voting in EU and domestic elections. 

Footage shows multiple scuffles between protesters and riot police, prompting the deployment of tear gas and batons. Protesters at Brussels Nord Station chanted “everyone hates the police,” as a helicopter hovered overhead.

#Acte28.b #Brussels is under tension … The vests are trapped at the station#Electionseuropeenne2019 pic.twitter.com/cxCqccHyhe

— BettyBoop (@BeabwBoop) May 26, 2019

Manifestation yellow vests in Brussels today mass arrests ⚠️🤬Manifestation Gilets Jaunes à Bruxelles aujourd’hui arrestations de masse pic.twitter.com/YttP9OHPAJ

— valérie lavaud (@lefouduroi1) May 26, 2019

“the protestors and police again clashed outside the headquarters of the European Institution headquarters in the heart of the city.

The rioters then moved on to the headquarters of Belgium’s domestic Socialist Party (PS), where they were said to attack the building with paint bombs. 

Police continued to hit back at rioters with tear gas and water cannons as they struggled to keep up with them.” –Express

Live feed: 

Several arrests taking place in the city center of #Brussels near the Grand Place. #Giletsjaunes #Yellowvests #Acte28 #Belgium #Europe #EuropeanElections2019
pic.twitter.com/vXB3wqFobt

— nonouzi (@Gerrrty) May 26, 2019

Many of the Yellow Vests are demanding a more direct form of democracy using popular referendums, known as RIC (Citizens’ Referendum Initiative) – in which any proposal that gathers over 700,000 signatures would trigger a national referendum to be held within a year, according to the Express

“RIC is the only way to rule a real democracy,” said French Yellow Vest André Lannée, who added “we are citizens, we want to decide the way our country is ruled.”

— Ruptly (@Ruptly) May 26, 2019

Unhappy Romanians stood in line for hours to cast their ballots. 

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What the West can learn: Yellow Vests are demanding a Cultural Revolution (8/8) | The Vineyard of the Saker

23-05-19 07:03:00,

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

For years I have talked about “White Trash Revolutions”, and the emergence of the Yellow Vests proves that my finger is perfectly on the pulse of things: the only people publicly wearing “Yellow Vests” on the streets of Paris prior to November 17, 2018, were… garbage men.

So, imagine me, with my love of Trash Revolutions of all hues (Iran’s 1979 “Revolution of the Barefooted” amounts to the same idea)… and then the French adopted the look of trash collectors as their uniform – I couldn’t be happier!!!

But this idea is not new – even in modern 24/7 politics, genuine historical processes take years or decades to culminate. In 2016, following the election of Donald Trump in the United States, Slavov Zizek expressed the same idea offhandedly: “Sorry, White Trash is our only hope. We have to win them over.”

I could not agree more. But we must go further than just “winning over Trash” – we must let them win.

That is the essence of China’s Cultural Revolution.

I penned this 8-part series because the Yellow Vests show us – urgently, courageously, necessarily, violently – just how relevant China’s Cultural Revolution (CR) should be to Westerns in 2019.

If you have not read the previous 7 parts of this series (and know only anti-CR propaganda) then you may not realize the China’s CR proved how good, productive, efficient and equal society can be – democratically, economically, educationally and culturally – when rural people are supported instead of insulted.

This entire series has not been designed to celebrate China or socialism – it has been written to show what happens when the rural-urban divide is seriously addressed in modern politics, as it was in China during the CR in an unprecedented manner. Society has many seemingly irreconcilable poles of contention – the only one this series seriously addresses is the rural-urban divide.

The CR showed that solutions to this seemingly irreconcilable divide are possible if we accept that Trash is our only hope and not – as the urban-based Mainstream Media insists – the cause of our ills.

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