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  • Protesters wearing yellow vests attend a demonstration in Paris, France, May 4, 2019.

    Protesters wearing yellow vests attend a demonstration in Paris, France, May 4, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 May 2019
Opinion

President Emmanuel Macron administration tried in vain to discredit the Yellow Vests before their 25th Saturday protest.

In response to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner's attempt to discredit Yellow Vests by describing their intrusion at a hospital as an 'attack,' over 1,400 French intellectuals and artists published Saturday the 'We Are Not Fooled' Manifesto and harsly criticized President Emmanuel Macron administration.

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“The Yellow Vests [have been beating] our streets' pavement, calling for essential things: more direct democracy, greater social and fiscal justice, radical measures against ecological emergencies. ... And we proclaim here, we are not fooled," the Manifesto stated and explained that "the most threatening violence is the economic and social one ... the violence marking bodies and minds of those who go to work to survive.”

On this 25th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations, about 40,291 citizens protested across the country without major incidents. The Interior Ministry held the number of protesters at just 18,900. 

Authorities maintained a strong security device to avoid riots similar to those of Labor Day, when hooded men known as "black blocs" and some Yellow Vests clashed with the police. To that effect, Parisian authorities banned meetings in 'sensitive' areas such as the Champs Elysees or the Republic Square.

This Saturday, French authorities' prudent attitude, however, did not erase the collective memory of the previous crackdowns.

"The number of wounded, broken lives, arrests and convictions is beyond comprehension. How can we still exercise our right to protest against such repression? Nothing justifies the establishment of an 'anti-breaker' aresenal of laws which violates our fundamental freedoms," Juliette Binoche, Emmanuelle Beart and hundreds recalled at the ​​​​​​"Nous Ne Sommes Pas Dupes" manifesto.

Despite the relative calm at the Yellow Vests' 25th Saturday protest, at least 42 people were arrested by French security forces in Strasbourg, the city in which the European Parliament building is located and where some 2,000 protesters gathered.

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