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YELLOW VEST

‘Yellow vest’ demos will continue throughout April, but what’s scheduled for this weekend?

'Yellow vest' protests will continue throughout April, alternating between Paris and other large cities, according to one of the movement's organisers.

'Yellow vest' demos will continue throughout April, but what's scheduled for this weekend?
'Yellow vests' will be demonstrating again on Saturday. Photo: AFP
Truck driver Eric Drouet, who has become one of the leaders of the grassroots movement, has announced that demonstrations will continue on Saturdays throughout April.
 
Drouet also told French news channel BFMTV that from now on the focus will shift between Paris and other large cities in France.
 
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Eric Drouet has emerged as one of the figureheads of the 'yellow vest' movement. Photo: AFP
 
After a day of relative calm last weekend, there are more demos planned for this Saturday April 6th, with a call for protesters to gather for a 'national demonstration' in Rouen.
 
The area's préfete Fabienne Buccio has responded by banning demonstrations in a large part of the city centre.
 
Police said they are monitoring the situation, and there is expected to be a heavy police presence.
 
A police spokesman said: “We are following this closely. Until the day before the event, we will not really know the extent to which this may take place. The system will be adapted accordingly, which means more staff if necessary.”
 
There are also plans for a large event in Dijon, with a call for protesters to meet in the Place de la Republique at 2pm.
 
In Paris, authorities have again banned demonstrations on the Champs-Elysées, which bore the brunt of violence that flared at the demonstrations on March 16th.
 
Instead, protesters in Paris are planning a series of smaller events at locations including the Place de la Republique, Montparnasse and the Place des Fetes.
 
There will be closures on the Metro at the following stations; Tuileries,  Concorde, Champs-Elysées Clemenceau, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Miromesnil, Varenne, Invalides, George V, Charles de Gaulle Etoile, Assemblée Nationale and Vaneau. But all of the Metro lines are set to remain open.
 
There could be other closures during the day if trouble flares in a particular spot in Paris. You can check closures over the weekend on the RATP site here
 
After rioters burned and looted on the Champs-Elysées on March 16th, the government has clamped down hard on people who set out to cause trouble at demonstrations.
 
The Champs-Elysées itself has been barred to protesters ever since, and several other cities including Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rouen and Nice have introduced 'no go zones' for demonstraters.
 
The penalties for organising or attending unathorised demonstrations have also been toughened up. Demonstrators who defy protest bans will now face up to six months in prison and fines of up to €7,500, while those masking their faces could be fined up to €15,000.
 
But the French government suffered a setback on Thursday when the country's Constitutional Council ruled that plans to ban certain named individuals from taking part in protests could not be allowed as they gave officials “excessive latitude”.
 
 
 
 

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PROTESTS

What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?

A court in France has finally handed out sentences to some of those involved in the vandalism and theft at the Arc de Triomphe in December 2018 - when 'yellow vest' violence in Paris shocked the world.

What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?
'Yellow vest' protesters clash with police by the Arc de Triomphe on December 1st 2018 in Paris. Photo: Abdulmonam EASSA / AFP

The French court on Thursday sentenced eight people to suspended jail terms and community service for taking part in one of the most violent episodes of the anti-government ‘yellow vest’ protests that rocked France two years ago.

A total of nine stood trial this week for the incident, but one of them, a former soldier, was cleared for lack of evidence, presiding judge Sonia Lumbroso said at the verdict.

The court ruled the suspects were neither the instigators nor the main culprits of the vandalism and looting around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, when scenes of destruction and fierce clashes with police made global headlines.

Most of them had no criminal records.

They were sentenced to 70 hours of community service for entering the monument, but those also found guilty of stealing items such as postcards, Arc de Triomphe models or miniature Eiffel Towers from the gift shop, were fined €100 for theft.

A ‘yellow vest’ protester arrives at the courthouse in Paris to attend the trial of ten people on charge of destruction and theft around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. Photo: Thomas COEX / AFP

One of the group, a man who was caught on camera trying to break down a door with a fire extinguisher, was handed the most severe sentence, a suspended prison term of eight months.

Dozens of cars were set on fire and businesses trashed all along the celebrated Champs-Elysées avenue on December 1st, 2018, the third Saturday of mass demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

READ ALSO: Macron risks losing support from left against Le Pen in French presidential election

He was accused of ignoring the plight of struggling French families and after months of protests he abandoned a planned fuel tax hike and raised spending on the lowest earners.

The protesters had already skirmished with security forces at earlier rallies, but police were unprepared for the rioting that engulfed the capital just a few weeks before Christmas.

Despite firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets, the officers were forced to abandon their positions around the Arc de Triomphe, which honours France’s war dead.

Protesters snuffed out the eternal flame over the tomb of an unknown World War I soldier and spray-painted the stone walls with graffiti including “the yellow vests will triumph”.

Others forced their way inside the arch, ransacking the gift shop and damaging scores of artworks, causing damage that cost €1.2 million to repair.

READ ALSO: Is France’s ‘yellow vest’ movement really on its way back?

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