Seasons Greetings from Frances Yellow Vests

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1733 ... January 2, 2019
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Seasons Greetings from France’s Yellow Vests: "We Are Not Tired"

Richard Greeman

Is the Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) rebellion, now in its seventh week, "petering out?" Such was the near-unanimous pronouncement of the mainstream media, when I returned home to Montpellier, France, eager to participate and to observe first-hand this popular insurrection which I had been afraid of missing.

I needn’t have worried. By nine o’clock last Saturday morning (December 22), hundreds of Yellow Vest demonstrators were gathering for a peaceful march to the Préfecture (local seat of government) chanting "We’re not tired" and carrying placards reading "We are not casseurs (vandals) or pyromaniacs. Peaceful." The mood was bon enfant ("jolly") with demonstrators en famille including the children and old folks in wheelchairs. Marching... ten abreast, they filled the rue de la Loge, but when they arrived at the Préfecture, the police, apparently taunted by some radicals in the crowd, let loose with teargas, injuring children. Then all hell broke loose and continued all day, with marches, countermarches and gas in the air.

This indiscriminate use of gas was typical of the government’s tactic of preventing mass peaceful demonstrations by provoking violence and spreading fear. For example, "black block" casseurs and rock throwers have been identified as under-cover policemen by eyewitnesses and on videos. This was apparently the case last Saturday at the Montpellier Préfecture.

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