Wednesday 18 September 2019

Yellow vest protesters target French media as movement ebbs

Hundreds of people marched on the offices of TV networks BFM and France Televisions.

A demonstrator wearing her yellow vest waves a national flag (AP)
A demonstrator wearing her yellow vest waves a national flag (AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Yellow vest protesters have marched on the headquarters of leading French broadcasters, with small groups turning out in Paris and around France amid waning momentum in the movement.

Hundreds of demonstrators traced a path around Paris, visiting the central offices of television networks BFM and state-run France Televisions. Organisers have announced plans to march on other broadcasters.

Some members of the yellow vest movement accuse leading media of favouring President Emmanuel Macron’s government and big business while minimising the impact of their protests – even though the demonstrations have been the leading news story in France since they began on November 17 amid widespread anger at fuel tax hikes.

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A demonstration in the middle of Marseille (AP)

Dozens of protesters tried to march on Saturday on the Champs-Elysees – the scene of repeated recent clashes between police and demonstrators – but were peacefully turned away by security forces.

Both police and protesters appeared to be out in much smaller numbers than previous weekends.

The Christmas period and winter chill may have dampened Saturday’s turnout, along with a raft of concessions by Mr Macron to calm the movement after rioting nearly reached his presidential palace earlier this month.

Despite Mr Macron’s offers of tax relief and other aid, many people remain frustrated with his pro-business leadership and are continuing to stage roadblocks at roundabouts around the country.

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Around 1,500 people marched through Marseille (AP)

Peaceful gatherings were held on Saturday in several cities, from Marseille on the Mediterranean to Albertville in the Alps and Rouen in Normandy.

Protesters continued blocking roundabouts in several sites, jamming traffic on a busy weekend of holiday travel.

New protests are expected on the Champs-Elysees on New Year’s Eve, when Paris puts on a light show that typically attracts large crowds.

The movement quickly spread beyond the fuel tax worries to encompass broad French anger over Mr Macron’s economic policies.

The movement is named after the fluorescent protective gear French motorists must keep in their cars.

PA Media

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