Yellow is the night: Defiant Gilets Jaunes plan 1st nocturnal protest in Paris
Eleven weeks into protests, the Yellow Vest movement shows no sign of abating. The unyielding demonstrators rallying against President Emmanuel Macron’s reform agenda now plan to stage their first night protest in Paris.
Calls for the protests in the French capital to continue into the night have appeared in many Yellow Vest groups on Facebook. Some of the groups also vowed to stage such rallies on a regular basis until the end of national consultations on the issues raised by the demonstrators.
“We’ll gather every night from this Saturday onwards, and we’ll keep coming till at least the end of the national consultation [Grand Debat],” one Facebook post read. “We’ll make Place de la République our giant ring road.”
The organizers promised that there would be no “violence” or “threatening behavior” during the night rallies, adding that the nocturnal marches would be held by “pacifist citizens” denouncing “violent and undemocratic repression” of the Yellow Vest movement by French law enforcement.
According to some reports, the first nocturnal protest was held in the southern city of Toulouse last week. The new calls for night rallies drew comparison to the ‘Nuit Debout’ – another protest movement opposing labor reforms that hit France back in 2016 and involved nocturnal protests.
The 2016 demonstrations were marred by violence and led to hundreds of arrests.
Other options discussed by protesters on social media included a 48-hour weekend demonstration, as well as a boycott of the supermarkets and retail stores owned by multinational corporations such as Amazon.
Some of the more bizarre suggestions involved forming three giant human chains stretching across the entire French territory and spanning over a total of 2,000 kilometers to reach five corners of the country. As far-fetched as the idea might seem, the event scheduled for Sunday still garnered some attention on social media.
Regular protests also hit the streets of French cities, including Lyon, Marseilles and Nantes, for the 11th week in a row. Launched in November as a grassroots movement opposing fuel tax hikes, the Yellow Vests later developed into a force opposing Macron’s reforms and demanding the resignation of the president.
The massive protests that have been gripping France for more than two months often spiralled into fierce clashes between demonstrators and police, leaving many injured on both sides.
More than 4,000 people were detained in connection to Yellow Vest activities.
The protesters labelled Macron the ‘president of the rich’ – a tag he received even earlier due to some of his policies that favored the wealthier part of French society like scrapping the wealth tax. In a bid to free himself from this image of an elitist snob, Macron recently claimed he has always been a “man of the people.”
The president, however, apparently failed to strike a chord with the people, who continued to denounce him as a “puppet of the big banks.”
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