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  • Yellow Vests protesters take part in a demonstration in Paris, France, Feb. 9, 2019.

    Yellow Vests protesters take part in a demonstration in Paris, France, Feb. 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 February 2019

One Yellow Vests group seeks to participate in electoral politics while another group vows to build resistance against neoliberalism.

The "Yellow Vests" seize the streets of France again to carry out their 13th Saturday of national demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron's neoliberal policies.

RELATED: Thousands 'Yellow Vests' Protesters March Against Macron's Gov't Amid Heavy Police Crackdown

Since the first march on Nov. 17, 2018,  the Yellow Vests movement has been transforming goals and tactics permanently. Now, inside the movement, there is a group that seeks to participate in electoral politics and another group that builds resistance to neoliberalism from the streets.

In Paris, the Yellow Vests gathered in the morning around the Arc de Triomphe. The marchers are expected to cross the Champs Elysees and pass in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Assembly and the Senate. The march will end in the Champ of Mars, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in the afternoon.

In other cities such as Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Montpellier, Rouen or Caen, demonstrations will be performed throughout the day. Some of these gatherings called to protest a law that was approved, this week, by the National Assembly which seeks to control the citizens' demonstrations.

In Montpellier, for example, a Yellow Vests group has called a rally to denounce the anti-rioters law, which they consider "liberticide." They will meet wearing masks or scarves to cover their faces as a gesture of protest.

Other groups have insisted on denouncing the police repression, which was brutally expressed when one of the most well-known public faces of the movement, Jerome Rodrigues, was hospitalized after being hit in the eye with a projectile, two weeks ago.

Within the movement, while the most radical citizens reject any form of political representation, the more moderate militants are still looking for ways to participate in the 2019 European Parliament election, in May.

At least four groups, all of which claim to be Yellow Vests, have expressed their intention to become a party.

However, Eric Drouet, a visible face of the radicals, disqualify the breakaway groups, saying they no longer represent the movement.

"They have all the freedom to present themselves as individuals, but not with the name of the Yellow Vests. That's why we have asked them to abandon that denomination," the French 33-year-old truck driver said.

Ingrid Levavasseur, who promotes a Yellow Vests list for the next EU elections, met this week with Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who is the 5 Star Movement leader to discuss a possible alliance.

The rapprochement has provoked a diplomatic crisis between France and Italy, which could escalate if Rome insists on pronouncing in favor of the Yellow Vests, a movement that has forced President Macron to leave the Elysee and field questions by implementing a Great National Debate.

According to a YouGov survey released on Feb. 7, two out of three French citizens support the Yellow Vests mobilizations, which are seen as a way of launching more representative institutions.


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