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Act 28: Will this weekend's protests signal the end of France's 'yellow vests'?

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Act 28: Will this weekend's protests signal the end of France's 'yellow vests'?
Photo: AFP
12:33 CEST+02:00
Turnout has dwindled at 'yellow vest' protests in France over the past couple of weeks but the demonstration planned for this Saturday - the eve of the European elections - was supposed to be 'the big one'. But could it instead mark the end of the movement?
Act 28 of the "yellow vest" protests is upon us but six months after the movement began it looks like the end of the anti-government's weekly demonstrations is nigh. 
 
Numbers have been dwindling over the past couple of weeks, with the count from the interior ministry putting the numbers across France at last Saturday's protest (Act 27) at 15,500, of whom 1,600 marched in Paris.
 
That was down again from the previous week's count of 18,600, suggesting a steady decline.
 
Prominent figures in the "yellow vest" movement previously suggested that this weekend's event would see a rise in the number of people turning out to protest due to the fact that it set to take place one day before French voters go to the polls for the European elections on Sunday May 26th. 
 
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France's 'yellow vests' mark six months of protests with numbers dwindlingPhoto: AFP
 
The Interior Ministry, according to reports in the French press, is expecting numbers to increase - although only slightly. 
 
This weekend's big event is set to take place in French President Emmanuel Macron's hometown of Amiens in the north of France, with a page set up on Facebook for an event called "May 25: Take Macron's City", with a total of 3,000 people indicating that they are interested in attending. 
 
"Since we have been prevented from taking Macron's Palace, we will take his city: Amiens," say the organisers of the event, referring to the fact that protests have been banned around the presidential Elysée Palace in Paris. 
 
"May 25th marks the end of the campaign for the European elections, which are supposed to put an end to the revolt of the last few months, so it is on that day that we must show that the upheaval that we are carrying out is not dead," they went on. 
 
"We are more numerous, happier and more determined than ever, and time, far from being a weapon against us, is our ally."
 
The other centre for this week's protests, unsurprisingly, is the French capital. 
 
Several event pages have been set up on Facebook, including one entitled "Act 28: Ultimatum 3 World Call In Paris!", with over 3,000 people saying they are interested in attending and "Act 28 - Resurrection, The Return!" calling on "yellow vests" to meet at Boulevard des Batignolles, in the 8th arrondissement of the capital. 
 
Act 26: Is it all over for the 'yellow vests' in France?Photo: AFP
 
Elsewhere in France
 
There are also several events organised for elsewhere in France although they have so far not received much attention on social media. 
 
Fewer than 1,000 people have said they are interested in attending the main event in Toulouse while just a few hundred have said they are interested in attending "Act 28 Montpellier: The People's Revolution!".
 
So, is this really the end?
 
Some say that the "yellow vests'" struggle to galvanise large numbers of people is an indicator that there is not much life left in the movement. 
 
"The rebellion in its original form, a broad grass roots movement, is over.
 
"It's being kept alive by a stubborn hard core and many people from the Metropolitan hard left who were not involved at the beginning," veteran France correspondent John Lichfield told The Local. 
 
"The big event this Saturday, for the eve of the European elections, is supposed to be in Amiens, Macron's home town. The numbers planning to go don't seem huge. It will no doubt be violent at the fringes. Another low turnout and it will be time to say the GJ's are a spent force. "
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