Gilets jaunes: More protests set for ‘Acte 9’ weekend
Over 80,000 police officers are to be mobilised for the “Acte 9” day of gilets jaunes action this Saturday January 12, with major protests likely in Paris, Bourges (Cher) and across the rest of France.
As with all Saturdays since the movement’s beginning on November 17, a “peaceful gathering” has been arranged for 14h in Paris, at Place de la République.
Leader of the protest, Kamel Amriou, is to formally register the protest with the Paris police today (Friday), and has said that all attendees on Saturday will be asked six questions on their expectations, in a bid to maintain order and filter out anyone who may be there to cause unrest.
There is no official protest planned for the Champs-Élysées, but as with previous weekends, it is possible that the famous boulevard may become occupied by gilets jaunes.
Over 5,000 police officers will be stationed in the capital tomorrow.
Significant protests are also expected for the town of Bourges, after the leaders of key Facebook group “La France en Colère (Angry France)” dubbed it the “centre of France”, and therefore the best place, they said, to take the ongoing movement.
Over 2,500 people have indicated online that they intend to go, while 12,000 others have said they are “interested”.
Yet, authorities in Bourges have said that no such protest has been “declared”, making any gathering “non-authorised” so far.
Further demonstrations have also been announced in Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille.
This weekend will be the ninth consecutive gilets jaunes protest, with numbers having decreased sharply since November 17. Yet, last weekend, 50,000 people came out in force, according to official figures from the ministry of the Interior.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has spoken out against the threat of any further violence.
He said: “We cannot accept that some people are taking advantage of these protests to fight, break and burn. These people will never have the last word in our country.”
One of the leaders of the Paris protest, Mr Amriou, said: “We condemn any violence. Some gilets jaunes have made mistakes. But we must understand that, for most people, mistakes have also been made by the other side [the police].”
The comments come as former boxer, Christopher Dettinger, remains in police custody pending trial for assaulting at least one police officer during the clashes last week, after having previously posted his own video “explaining” his actions.
Amid condemnation for Mr Dettinger’s violence, some social media users have said that his attitude has given them “courage” to continue in their protests.
Meanwhile, the La France en Colère group has indicated that it will be sending representatives to the national public debate commission (la Commission nationale du débat public (CNDP)) today, to re-state its objectives and grievances.
It has called for a “drop in tax on necessary goods, the introduction of a citizen referendum system (référendum d’initiative citoyenne (RIC)) in France, and a drop in all salaries, bonuses and retirement funds for ministers and high-level public servants”.
But tthe demands come as a new poll has found that 70% of French people do not believe that the planned big national debate (le grand débat national) will bring about any useful changes for the country.
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