French Government Orders More Police Violence and Bans Yellow Vest Demonstrations

The French government announced increased police violence and a ban on yellow vest protests along Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris and bans on protests in two other cities as demonstrations have intensified.

The yellow vest movement was sparked by tax hikes in France. In 18 weeks of consecutive demonstrations, the movement has grown into a popular uprising against corruption of the government and has called for the Macron government to be removed due to policies that favor the rich.

The ban on demonstrations has no time limit and will be applied to areas where demonstrations have been held in Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse. In addition to the bans, government officials announced they would intensify already brutal police repression against demonstrators. French officials called a previous order to use fewer hardened munition rounds against protesters “inappropriate.”

The government announced its shift in its strategy of repression will involve new tools, including drones and increased video surveillance to help crush the national uprising against the government.

The French Parliament already passed a bill to suspend people’s right to protest, authorizing authorities to suspend the rights of people they claim are a threat. It also makes it a crime for protesters to conceal their faces, punishable by a year in prison and a $17,000 fine.

The bill has been criticized by reasonable people, rights groups, activists, opposition members and even members of Macron’s own party. They view the bill goes too far in restricting people’s freedoms and edges toward authoritarian repression.

 

 

Photo: “Les Gilets Jaunes” by Patrice CALATAYU is licensed under CC BY 2.0