Red Scarves v Yellow Vests? 1,000s of ‘anti-violence’ protesters march through Paris (VIDEOS) Anger over violence and vandalism resulting from the weekly Yellow Vest demonstrations has spurred the creation of a new protest movement – the Red Scarves – revealing new divisions within French society.
Shouting “We, too, are the people!” around 10,000 activists marched through the street of Paris calling on the authorities to restore public order. While some in the crowd said they initially supported the Yellow Vests’ agenda and demands, many reconsidered their views in light of the tactics used by more extreme elements of the grassroots movement.
Over 2,000 people have been injured in clashes with police since the Yellow Vest protests began on November 17. Ten people have died as a result of the protests – among them bystanders who were caught between police and protesters. An 80-year-old woman died in December after a gas canister used by police to disperse demonstrators went through her apartment window.
While the Yellow Vests accuse the government of using excessive force against them, those representing the Red Scarves believe that the authorities have the right to intervene to restore order. “Long live our policemen! Long live our gendarmes!” they shouted on Sunday.
The Red Scarves, who in vast majority try to stay clear of any political agenda, just want things to return to normal, based on the values of the French Republic. “We reject violence. We defend the Republic. We promote dialogue,” they proclaimed.
The calls by the self-styled ‘silent majority’ did not go unnoticed. A small crowd of Yellow Vests activists gathered to meet their opponents at the Place de la Bastille, but no incidents were reported.
Originally a small protest against a deeply unpopular fuel tax, the Yellow Vest movement has spread to cities and towns across France.
Now with a laundry list of demands – including the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron – the movement marked its 11th week of demonstrations over the weekend. Despite Yellow Vests securing some concessions from Macron in December, social unrest continues to grip France. The protesters accuse Macron of ineffective government and insufficient measures to fight poverty.
Although the size of the rallies has shrunk, the Yellow Vests recently announced their first night protests in Paris. The organizers promised that there would be no “violence” or “threatening behavior” during the night rallies, adding that the nocturnal marches would be held by “pacifist citizens” denouncing “violent and undemocratic repression” of the Yellow Vest movement by French law enforcement.
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