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”.

21 December 2018
Some protesters appear to be calling for a repeat of previous weekend movements on Saturday
By Connexion journalist

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.

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.”

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Get news, views and information from France