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What to expect from Act 22 of the 'yellow vest' protests in France this weekend

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What to expect from Act 22 of the 'yellow vest' protests in France this weekend
Illustration photo: AFP
14:51 CEST+02:00
The "yellow vests" are set to take to the streets of several French cities once again this weekend. But will this Saturday's demonstrations see a large turnout or has the movement more or less fizzled out?
The number of protesters dropped to their lowest since the beginning of the movement last weekend, however more demonstrations are planned throughout April, according to leading members of the anti-government group. 
 
This weekend will be the first time a "yellow vest" act has taken place since the so-called 'anti-rioters' bill came into effect on Thursday, and the bill, which was approved by lawmakers in February, aims to crack down on violence that has marred the "yellow vest" protest movement.
 
The big question is will this week see a return to large turnouts and possible violence or is the movement on its way out?
 
Some believe that this weekend will be fairly quiet, with next weekend the one to watch out for, once French President Emmanuel Macron has responded to the results of the 'Great National Debate'. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
“The movement is definitely fading in its provincial heartlands. It is also shifting away from its non-ideological, anti-politics-as-usual beginnings and resembles  more and more a traditional movement of the hard left,” veteran France correspondent John Lichfield told The Local. 
 
“I don't think this weekend will be very big for the GJ.s They're waiting for Macron's reaction to the Great Debate, expected on Monday or Tuesday. There is also talk of a big effort on May 1st – a Wednesday not a Saturday and traditionally a day for left wing protest.
 
"That's another sign of the leftward drift of the movement.”
 
Here's a look at what is planned around the country for Acte 22 this Saturday. 
 
Paris
 
Two known events are planned for the French capital. 
 
A demonstration, which organisers say police are aware of, is set to take place from Place Pereire (Place du Maréchal Juin) in the 17th arrondissement to Place de la Republique at 11am.
 
Another gathering named "Act 22: Paris engulfed by a yellow tsunami" is also planned, with 1,500 people saying they are interested and 298 people saying they are planning to attend. 
 
Controversial figure of the "yellow vest" movement Eric Drouet told Le Parisien in late March that the "big date" for Paris would be April 20th.
 
'Yellow vest' demos will continue throughout April, but what's scheduled for this weekend?
Photo: AFP
 
Toulouse
 
The southern French city of Toulouse has been dubbed "the national capital of yellow vests" for Act 22 this Saturday. 
 
The event, which is set to take place in Place Jean-Jaurès, has so far attracted the interest of 4,000 people on Facebook. 
 
Meanwhile,the city's place du Capitole will be closed to demonstrations for several weeks.
 
The organisers of the movement have said they want a "black day and national mobilisation to fight against Macron and his world".
 
Prominent figures of the "yellow vest" movement Maxime Nicolle and Priscilla Ludosky have announced they will be demonstrating in Toulouse.
 
The North 
 
Meanwhile another leading figure Jerome Rodrigues will participate in a "peaceful" demonstration in Dunkirk on Friday evening, which has been announced to authorities, according to local newspaper La Voix du Nord.
 
Demonstrations are also expected to take place at Place de la Republique in Lille on Saturday.
 
The gatherings will be a little unusual because they will take the form of a "royal cortege" to highlight the theme of the abolition of privileges.
 
Photo: AFP
 
Lyon
 
Parts of Lyon, particularly the city centre, will be inaccessible to protesters on Saturday - a decision which was announced on Tuesday this week. 
 
Nevertheless, 2,500 people have said on Facebook they are interested in attending an event called "Act 22: Angry Lyon".
 
Rouen city centre will also be off limits to protesters. 
 
Strasbourg
 
"Yelloes vests" from all over the east of France have also be called on to protest in the eastern city of Strasbourg. 
 
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