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‘Yellow Vests’ Movement Coming Back, Not Ebbing as Macron Hoped

Jan. 14, 2019 (EIRNS)—“Yellow Vests” anti-austerity protests took place in an estimated 60 cities across France on Saturday, Jan. 12, and showed a recrudescence of the movement rather than the post-Christmas fizzle that President Emmanuel Macron had clearly hoped for. The official police estimate was 84,000, up from 50,000 on Jan. 5 and 30,000 on Dec. 29. But a more realistic estimate would have been 150-200,000, according to EIR in Paris. “The Gilets Jaunes movement is back on its feet and striding to progress into a coherent movement,” in the assessment of EIR. “These figures are totally underestimated: They correspond only to the mobilizations in the larger cities, but there have been a lot of people elsewhere, too.”

There has been less violence, and less anarchist-right wing countergang presence; moreover, the movement is beginning to recognize some leaders.

The crowds were once again quite large in the medium-sized cities of southern France: 6,000 in Bordeaux, 5,000 in Toulouse, 3,000 in Marseille, 3,000 in Nimes (a smaller city), 2,500 in Rouen, 6,300 in Bourges, 8,000 in Paris, 4,000 in Caen, and 2,000 in Lille. This time the Gilets Jaunes organized a couple of meetings around the upcoming leaders of the movement: in Paris, around Eric Drouet, who had been thrown in jail by Macron last week and then freed; and another one in Bourges, in central France, where there was a large crowd around Maxime Nicolle and Priscilla Ludowski, two other founders of the movement.

On Jan. 15 the national debate organized by Macron, for people to raise their problems and propose solutions, will begin. The President has issued a “letter to the nation” to inaugurate it, asking for harmony. Four themes have already been chosen: 1) transport, housing, heating, 2) a more just tax system, 3) how can democracy and citizenship evolve, and 4) how can public services become more efficient.

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