Tear gas, water cannons, clashes in Nantes, Lyon at week 26 of Yellow Vest protests (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
A week after the lowest turnout since the movement began as a protest against a planned fuel tax hike in November, the Yellow Vests, who are now protesting President Emmanuel Macron’s broader reform agenda and supposed indifference towards the fate of the ordinary French people, once again took to the streets of the French cities.
Nantes and Lyon saw some major demonstrations on Saturday, as thousands of people joined the rallies organized by the protest movement in both cities.
In Lyon, 2,500 people hit the streets while in Nantes the police put the turnout at 2,200, according to the French media.
While the processions were largely peaceful, some clashes between the protesters and the police did erupt as some black-hooded demonstrators hurled bottles at the officers and smashed shop windows in Nantes. Police responded with tear gas and also used water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Après une très bonne manif bien rythmée ça se regroupe de nouveau vers 17h à la croisée dès tram et oui #OnEstLà 🎶😏 #GiletsJaunes#ActeXXVI#Nantes@PLudosky@FlyRiderGj merci d’être venus les loulou😜 pic.twitter.com/9cDOxL5Yh9— Gilets Jaunes de Vallet (JoJo😜) (@GNantais) May 11, 2019
The angry demonstrators were particularly dissatisfied with the concessions the French government made under pressure from the protest movement following the so-called national debate launched by Macron.
🇨🇵🗣#Nantes: the manifestation of #GiletsJaunes with many incidents in the city center water cannons are engaged by #Macron's #regime forces during #Acte26#YellowVests#ActeXXVI#Francepic.twitter.com/NImftmEYjs— Compact News 🌐 (@NewsCompact) May 11, 2019
“The ‘grand debate’ was a smokescreen. Today they're smoking us out with tear gas,” a 43-year-old protester, who identified himself as Mickael, told Reuters. “But we won't cave in. Yes, we're fewer than at the start, but when the others come back, we'll still be here and we'll still be angry.”
In Lyon, the atmosphere at the rallies was tense as well. At some point, the protesters started pelting the officers with bottles, stones, and firecrackers. The police retaliated with the massive use of tear gas.
The situation spiraled into clashes between the Yellow Vests and the police, which left one officer and one protester injured.
In Paris, which has seen some of the worst street violence in its modern history during the Yellow Vest protests, the situation remained largely peaceful this time.
Hundreds of people marched in the rain through the streets of the French capital starting from the Jussieu University in solidarity with the teachers, who went on strike earlier this week in protest against an education reform project.
RT from OP - Impressive turnout in #Paris for #ActeXXVI of the #GiletsJaunes protest. This is what fighting for real change looks like. It comes from the bottom up not from the top down. Vive la #France! #Macron#YellowVestspic.twitter.com/e0ioaAeN70— Sy Sez (@SuperSySez) May 11, 2019
“It's going to be a day in support of parents, families and everyone in the education system,” Jean-Christophe Valentin, a city hall worker at the rally, told AFP.
Some Yellow Vest movement activists also used the occasion to make some political statements ahead of the forthcoming European Parliament elections. Jerome Rodrigues, a well-known figure within the movement, who lost his eye after it was hit by a rubber bullet fired by police, urged the French to use the vote as a way to show their dissatisfaction with Macron’s policies.
“I'm calling on Europeans to make an anti-Macron vote, even if he just finishes in second place, it would take him down a notch, bring him back down to earth so he can serve us instead of the rich,” he said in Lyon.Also on rt.com Macron should leave ‘like de Gaulle’ if he loses European election – Le Pen
Demonstrations were also held Montpellier, where some 1,300 people took to the streets, and Bordeaux, which saw some 700 people joining the Yellow Vests march.
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