‘Red scarves’ march in Paris to condemn ‘yellow vest’ violence
Thousands of protesters stage counter-demonstration amid row over activist’s eye injury
Demonstrators are seen during a ‘red scarves’ march in Paris, France. Photograph: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of protesters marched through Paris on Sunday to condemn violence in the “yellow vest” movement that has rocked France for weeks with angry protests over president Emmanuel Macron’s rule.
Some 10,000 people turned out for Sunday’s counter-demonstration, a day after an 11th consecutive Saturday of “yellow vest” demonstrations across France that saw sporadic clashes with police.
Participants in Sunday’s rally, some wearing red scarves after the name of the counter-movement, displayed slogans like “stop the violence” and “hands off my republic” in a peaceful afternoon procession in eastern Paris that ended in Bastille square.
Saturday’s “yellow vest” march in the capital also ended at Bastille, where small groups confronted police and a demonstrator suffered an eye wound that inflamed a debate about whether the authorities are using excessive force.
The “yellow vest” protesters, who wear the fluorescent jackets French motorists are required to have in their cars, first took to the streets in November to oppose a fuel tax rise. Their movement then developed into a broader revolt against the government.
About 69,000 people attended the latest Saturday protests, including 4,000 in Paris, a lower turnout than the previous weekend, France’s interior minister said.
However, the eye injury suffered by well-known activist Jerome Rodrigues attracted more television coverage on Sunday than the “red scarves” march, as it heightened debate over use by police of dispersal grenades and so-called “flashball” pellet guns.
Mr Rodrigues’s lawyer said his client will be disabled for life as a result of the eye injury.
To help quell discontent, Mr Macron this month launched a series of public debates that he has promised will lead to changes. – Reuters/Guardian