What to expect during Act VI of the 'yellow vest' protests in France this Saturday

Evie Burrows-Taylor
Evie Burrows-Taylor - [email protected] • 21 Dec, 2018 Updated Fri 21 Dec 2018 17:37 CEST
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The "yellow vest" movement might seem to have calmed down but it looks likely there will still be some protests taking place around France, including in the French capital and the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, this Saturday. Here's what we know.


The "yellow vest" protest movement seems to be calming down but that doesn't mean they're giving up just yet.
In fact, there are some plans for protests this Saturday, including in Paris, although the expectations are that the so-called "act 6" will be nothing like on the scale seen in recent weeks. 
Some "yellow vests" on Facebook are calling for a protest in Opera from 10 am, stressing that they will "all be seated to stop the police charging us" and "to distinguish ourselves from the thugs", with around 3,500 people saying they were interested in the event. 
Other Facebook groups run by gilets jaunes suggest that other protests could take place in Place de l'Etoile and la Defense.
The authorities have said they expect a decrease in the number of protesters for Act VI which means that the security presence won't be as heavy as in recent weeks.  
The highest concentration of police will be in Paris where 1,230 riot police and officers will be on duty compared to 8,000 last weekend, with police carrying out identity checks and bags searches at train stations. 
Shop owners on the Champs-Elysees, as well as Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann have been called on to protect their storefronts.  
However others are saying that the French capital's roads will be too cramped and they would rather protest elsewhere in the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France. 
On Thursday, the Palace of Versailles announced it would close on Saturday out of precaution, with a possible plan by protesters to invade the famous cultural site to the south west of Paris.
The move follows calls on certain gilets jaunes (yellow vests) Facebook pages for protesters to meet at the palace on Saturday. Around 8,000 suggested they were interested in going on one of the more prominent pages.
The closure "is down to a preventative measure on the recommendation of the local authority," the palace told AFP. 

'Yellow vests' Act VI: Versailles Palace to close on Saturday amid protest fearsPhoto: AFP

There will be a large designated area for protesters on Avenue de Paris in Versailles which will be controlled by police. 
The authorities have said they are expecting "several hundred" yellow vests to take part.
"We expect less mobilization but there will be the same measures in place to supervise street demonstrations, ensuring a number of searches if necessary and arrests, if the situation escalates," Laurent Nunez, the Secretary of State for the interior ministry, told LCI.
Elsewhere in France, cargo trucks could be blocked at the borders.
Some 'yellow vest' groups on social media have discussed blocking the northern coastal city of Dunkirk, Tourcoing on the Belgian border, as well as Maubeuge and Bettignies, which are also near France's border with Belgium. 
Similarly in the east, Strasbourg and Gambsheim next to the German border could be blocked and in the south east, there was talk of blockading the seaside town of Menton and Chamonix, which is near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy. 
Meanwhile in the southwest, Perthus and Boulou near the Spanish border could be blocked and freight trucks could also have some difficulty entering the ports of Brest in Brittany and Saint-Nazaire in the Loire-Atlantique department of western France.
It is thought that the most significant border protest could be at the border between France and Spain as Catalan separatists seem to have joined forces with the "yellow vests" in the area. 
In fact one of the people behind the movement, Priscillia Ludosky, has been to the border herself. 
French government to rush through €10 billion worth of concessions for 'yellow vests'
"I am here today to try to understand what is going on among our neighbors and to understand what is the common ground," she said, adding that there is in Catalonia "a long-standing struggle for more democracy and sovereignty by the people".
Some "yellow vest" groups are even planning to celebrate the New Year on the Champs-Elysees.
While some gilets jaunes are busy making plans for this Saturday and beyond, French police have been busy clearing "yellow vest" protesters from several occupied roads as President Emmanuel Macron hopes to turn the page on more than a month of often violent anti-government protests.
Macron responded directly to an online petition against fuel tax hikes on Thursday, telling the million signatories "you're right" on the same day as the country's parliament backed the emergency concessions the president had announced to calm the "yellow vest" protest movement.
"Your message, I heard it. I am responding to you directly, you are right," Macron wrote to the million plus people who signed the petition on the website
It remains to be seen whether this has proven to be enough to put a pin in the anger of France's "yellow vests".



Evie Burrows-Taylor 2018/12/21 17:37

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