May 6, 2019 | Story | No Comments
Three days after clashing with police at May Day demonstrations, Yellow Vests protesters marched in Paris and across France, in the 25th straight weekend of anti-government anger.
According to the Interior Ministry, 18,900 demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday, the lowest turnout since the movement began as a protest against a planned fuel tax hike in November. However, the Yellow Vests have regularly disputed the figures released by the ministry, accusing officials of downplaying the scale of the protests.
In Paris, protesters demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. Castaner had accused Yellow Vests protesters of staging an “attack” on a hospital in the city during Wednesday’s May Day protests. Social media footage told a different story, with the protesters seeking refuge in the hospital to avoid police batons and tear gas.
Droves of protesters beat drums and chanted “Liar Castaner.”
Protesters in Toulouse also jeered at Castaner and demanded his resignation. The march in Toulouse quickly became violent, however, and clashes broke out between the Yellow Vests and police. Tear gas was deployed, and riot police at one point violently charged protesters.
Tear gas was also used by police in La Roche-sur-Yon, while protesters in Lyon joined a more peaceful youth march against global warming.
Although turnout on the streets was lower than on previous weekends, many Yellow Vests have not been pacified by President Macron’s promise of tax breaks, with one dismissing the president’s offering as “rubbish” last week.
In the wake of Castaner’s hospital “attack” claim, 1,400 French artists, celebrities and creatives –including movie stars Juliette Binoche and Emmanuelle Beart– signed an open letter of support for the Yellow Vests, printed in left-wing newspaper Libération on Saturday. In it, they slammed the French government and media for attempting to “discredit” the “citizens’ movement.”
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