Gilets jaunes: French minister condemns protest plans
Some gilets jaunes protesters are continuing with plans for further demonstrations across France this weekend, despite minister for the interior Christophe Castaner explicitly calling on them “to stop”.
Reports suggest that the area around Versailles could be especially targeted, with the famous palace and grounds confirming that it will close its doors to tourists as a precaution on Saturday.
⚠️ Le château et le domaine de Versailles seront fermés à la visite le samedi 22 décembre.— Chateau de Versailles (@CVersailles) December 20, 2018
⚠️ The Palace and the Estate and Palace of Versailles will be closed on Saturday 22nd December.
Dozens of Facebook Groups appear to be calling for further gilets jaunes movement, including one named “Acte 6 Sacrifice” with 1,600 “participants” and 7,500 people “interested”: and another called “Acte 6: Macron Démission”, which has 3,700 participants and 28,000 interested.
Another group, “Acte 6 Paris: Versailles” has 1,400 participants and 78,000 interested.
One comment read: “If we do not protest this Saturday, we will be finished. Believe me, it is our last chance.”
Yet, it is unclear whether the protests will attract as many people as in previous weeks, with commentators suggesting that the movement may be losing steam.
Last weekend’s “Acte V” attracted just 66,000 across the country, amid some reports that protesters were not being allowed to enter Paris and other major cities.
One Facebook Group, “La France en Colère (Angry France)”, today featured a comment from Éric Drouet - a gilet jaune who has previously called for protesters to “enter the Elysée” - calling for a very early start to protests around Versailles, asking people to begin gathering at 5-6h.
Priscilla Dudosky, another movement leader who set up a gilets jaunes petition that gathered more than a million signatures at the peak of the movement, has invited protesters to gather at the country’s borders.
People will be present near Spain, Germany, Italy and Belgium, she said, to “block vans [but] let individuals through”, in a movement dubbed “gilets jaunes d’Europe”.
Some protesters already appear to be planning even more events, with some groups mentioning “Actes 7 and 8”, and saying that they will “celebrate Christmas and New Year as gilets jaunes”, and “party on the Champs-Elysées”.
One Facebook group, with 5,500 people interested, read: “Let us find each other on the Champs [on December 31], to celebrate the move into 2019, in our joyful and non-violent fight”.
But minister for the interior Christophe Castaner has spoken out strongly against continuing protests.
He said: “This must stop. Nine people have died - that is also the reality of the gilets jaunes movement. If some - a small minority - want to continue to blockade economic life, that is a very serious undertaking.
“There is an underlying desire to damage our institutions, and block the system.”
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