Toulouse Sees Skirmishes in Revived Yellow Vest Protests across France
The Yellow Vest protest movement in France has persisted 10 months after its inception.
The city of Toulouse in Southern France saw skirmishes between protesters and riot police Saturday in a rally of the Yellow Vests’ movement, which has been reinvigorated in September.
The gathering of about 1,000 Yellow Vest demonstrators in Toulouse was tackled with tear gas and water cannons by the French riot police, after some of the protesters threw missiles at the officers, according to a police statement.
One police officer was injured and five demonstrators were arrested as a result during the Yellow Vest march in the city on Saturday afternoon, AFP and France24 reported.
At the same time, the Observatory of Police Practice (OPP), a group monitoring police conduct during the Yellow Vest rallies across France, said five demonstrators had been attacked by police officers, and one of them had been injured.
The Observatory published an open letter to the French authorities over the incident alongside images and video on Twitter.
Earlier this month, a member of the OPP filed a complaint saying he had been injured by the riot police during a Yellow Vest rally.
“Fed up of surviving. We want to live,” read a giant banner held by the Yellow Vest demonstrators in Toulouse where Yellow Vest rallies have been held every Saturday.
Despite the tear gas and water cannons, the demonstrators in Toulouse did not disperse immediately. Some of them set on fire a parasol outside a McDonalds restaurant.
Yellow Vest movement rallies were also held in other French cities; in Paris, Saturday’s Yellow Vest rally merged with a climate change march.
September 2019 has seen a partial revival of the prominent protest movement which has had both social and political demands, targeting the government of French President Emmanuel Macron.
At its start in November 2018 when it first protested against a fuel tax hike, the Yellow Vest movement used to attract up to 300,000 demonstrators across France. While over the next few months its rallies went down to having hundreds, rather than thousands participants, the movement has nonetheless persisted.
Saturday’s protests came two days after the Macron’s government made public a draft 2020 budget with more than EUR 9 billion in tax cuts for households.
Those include EUR 5 billion in tax cuts for about 12 million households already promised by President Emmanuel Macron as a result of his “great national debate” which he held in the spring of 2019 in response to the Yellow Vest protests.
(Banner image: Video grab from OPP)