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Gilets jaunes group calls for new regular protests starting Saturday

Organisers say they want to address the rising cost of living, pension reform among other issues. Social media interest however so far appears low

A photo of a gilet jaunes protesters carrying a banner in 2018

The protests, modelled on the gilets jaunes protests from 2018, have been called for by a collective named Gilets Jaunes et de Citoyens en colère Pic: Salvatore Allotta / Shutterstock

Gilets jaunes protesters are set to hold marches this weekend (Saturday, January 7) in protest against retirement reform, inflation and rising prices and the government’s use of article 49.3 last year.

The movement is set to focus on Paris but organisers say there may be protests in other cities and towns too, especially for protesters who are not able to travel to the capital.

Who is behind this?

The call has been issued by a collective called ‘Gilets Jaunes et de Citoyens en colère’ (Yellow vests and angry citizens).

The group has called for protests to take place every two weeks for several months, under the name ‘Appel du peuple’ (The call of the people) but they have noted that interest has been particularly high for the January 7 date.

However, social media groups still appear to have low numbers of participants, with only 596 users saying they are ‘interested’ in the page ‘Tous a Paris le 7 janvier’, and just 175 saying that they will be attending.

What are the grievances?

The protesters say that they are set to “shout loud and angrily, to defend the purchasing power of ordinary people, when the profits of billionaires in the CAC 40 [French stock market companies] have never been so high.

“Social movements and general strikes are the only things that act as barriers to neoliberal politics,” they said.

Grievances include:

  • Against pension reform plans looking to raise the retirement age 

  • Inflation and the rising cost of living, especially energy

  • The government’s frequent use of the 49.3 article to push through legislation

Read more: Explainer: what is France’s article 49.3 and why is it in the news?

Read more: No confidence motion after French government forces through new budget  

What are the details of the protests?

The collective has, it said, ‘negotiated’ with police, and the official route is as follows:

  • Meet at 11:00 on Saturday, January 7, at Place de Breteuil in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. 

  • The procession will leave at 14:30 and move via Avenue de Breteuil to reach the Place du Bataillon du Pacifique in the 12th arrondissement.

  • It will also travel via Boulevard Pasteur, Place Denfert-Rochereau and Place d'Italie.

Another movement, by a collective called ‘Vigi Médias’, may take place outside the headquarters of Le Monde, which it described as "the temple of propaganda”, in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. 

It will begin at 14:30 outside the headquarters of France Soir (a French media known for its complotist views), which it called the representative of "true journalism", in the 7th arrondissement.

How are the police preparing?

So far, the Paris police prefecture has not announced major plans for large numbers of officers on the ground (although the movement is taking place with police approval).

A larger police presence may be announced if the protests appear to become more popular by Saturday, and if many more people are expected to show up.

Reprise of 2018

It comes just over four years after the movement first emerged in the wake of the petrol prices crisis in 2018. 

The protesters came to be known as gilets jaunes as they typically wore the yellow fluorescent jackets that drivers must keep in their cars in case of emergency in France.

The movement quickly spiralled and was described by some as the defining social movement of President Emmanuel Macron’s first term. 

Related articles

Gilets Jaunes: the genius of the yellow vest

Who are the gilets jaunes today?

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