by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog
March 23rd in France marked the 19th consecutive weekend of nationwide Yellow Vests protests, the most noteworthy of which happened in Nice, Lille, Montpellier, Toulouse, Caen, and Paris. An estimated 127,000 Yellow Vests took to the streets of France on this day to protest against the Macron regime.
Firstly, let’s state some facts: there was NOT military troops everywhere in Paris. Near the Champs-Elysees – yes, but nowhere else. And secondly, people were indeed fined €135 if they tried to protest on the Champs-Elysees, despite the assurances from some media outlets that the fine would be only €11. Below is a copy of a penalty issued to a Yellow Vest as proof.
I personally did not go to the Champs-Elysees, but plenty of footage filmed by others exists. Here is an example of a Yellow Vest going there without wearing a Yellow Vest (incognito). The footage is rather surreal, considering what happened on this Avenue just 1 week prior.
In Nice there was a casualty: after the police violently charged protestors, a 75-year-old lady was slammed to the pavement head first.
— BleuBlancRouge4369 (@BBR4369) March 23, 2019
CHOQUANT! #GiletsJaunes à #Nice #ActeXIX : La police interpelle les MEDICS et les empêche de venir au secours d’une dame gravement blessé!
-“Vous avez un équipement on interpelle, dslé on interpelle”
Dénoncez svp #France #Macron #YellowVests #Macron #Paris pic.twitter.com/CeHWVhgOYp
— Le Général (@leGneral2) March 23, 2019
According to her daughter, cited by AFP, she suffered from several fractures of the skull and petrosal bone (inner ear). “She has to stay another 48 hours under surveillance. She is conscious, under morphine infusion, because she has severe headaches,” she said, adding that the doctors were “very, very scared” for her. The activist told her daughter, who she did not recognise at first, what happened: “I remember that a policeman charged at me and afterwards I do not remember anything”.
Meanwhile, in Toulouse the mobilisation was as strong as always, however the police soon arrived to shut it down.
— Hugo Murail (@HMurail) March 23, 2019
— Hugo Murail (@HMurail) March 23, 2019
And the essence of the “democracy” of Macron can certainly be seen in this detention of a minor and attack on a journalist – both in Toulouse:
HORRIFIANT !! À Toulouse, un journaliste au sol se fait frapper par la police… Partagez SVP !! #ActeXIX #Acte19 #GiletsJaunes #YellowVests #Toulouse #ViolencesPolicières #Macron pic.twitter.com/v7IoWHIjbE
— L’Antenne Jaune (@AntenneJaune) March 23, 2019
And in Montpellier there was also a column of yellow on the streets and police brutality:
— lemouvement.info (@lemouvementinfo) March 23, 2019
— Midi Libre Montpellier (@MLMontpellier) March 23, 2019
This video summarises what happened in Lille very well:
In Paris things were quite strange, if to be honest. There were 3 Yellow Vest events: 1) a sanctioned gathering in Châtelet–Les Halles, which was quickly suppressed by the police, who claimed it was unsanctioned; 2) a sanctioned march from Denfert Rochereau to Sacré Cœur (see map below); 3) a gathering at Trocadéro.
Since I considered that the sanctioned march would be a total flop and waste of time, I headed to Trocadéro first. Here there were a few Yellow Vests, but no more than 50. So after this I decided to try to check out the sanctioned march after all, and started heading East. By pure luck I managed to meet the marching column close to the Pompidou Center and then joined it. After about 15 minutes the column arrived at Sacré Cœur, where the Yellow Vests remained for about 30 mins. Normally the march had to end here, since the police were told that it would end by 17:30.
But then something odd happened. The Yellow Vests started to leave Sacré Cœur and march South. What followed was an unsanctioned march that for sure was spontaneously decided on. After 15 minutes of marching the column was suddenly blocked off by the regime and then gassed. This caused a tense standoff with “revolution” being chanted en masse by the “Yellow Vests”. After about 15 minutes the Yellow Vests decided to turn around, since their path was blocked, and head the other way. But sadly this direction was also blocked off by the police. It is at this moment that the chaos began.
The Yellow Vests would spend the next 30 minutes being pursued by the police down street after street. Law enforcement on motorbikes soon caught up with everyone, including me, and started to detain the Yellow Vest wearers (not me, fortunately) who they were able to catch. I escaped with only a burst of CS gas in my face, which immobilised me for at least 5 minutes. What then followed was a mass deployment of riot police and the chasing away of the remaining Yellow Vests.
Thankfully I managed to film most of what I have described and have thus pieced the footage together to make a mini film.
What was most surprising is that an unsanctioned march, and then a completely wild one, happened after the sanctioned one. This was not planned beforehand, but clearly the Yellow Vests were angry at the fact that they were banned from protesting on the Champs-Elysees.
Onwards to Act 20!