Yellow jackets: in Paris, violence is almost contained in a city under siege


Thousands of yellow jackets converged in the capital on Saturday 8 December. Despite the incidents, the situation did not degenerate like the previous week.

Suddenly, in the corner of Rue Pierre-Charron, an artery adjacent to the Champs-Elysees, plainclothes police arrive, batons in hand. They bluntly reject 200 or 300 people who have just escaped from the main street of Paris, driven by tear gas from the mobile gendarmes. It is a "pots". Inside, many do not understand why they are imprisoned. They just wanted to get out of the area calmly. "But why do we do it, we are not demolishers"a young man shouts at a policeman, while others raise their hands.

Yellow jackets: find the highlights of the fourth day of mobilization

A city in a state of siege

It is six o'clock in the evening, this Saturday, December 8th, and these are the last shocks of a day finally almost "calm" on the Champs-Elysées, where thousands of yellow vests are still gathered, for this "act IV" of their mobilization. The first arrived at the scene at nine in the morning in a city that seemed besieged, with police and gendarmes this time placed at multiple crossroads in the center of the capital, with dams sealed around the Eliseo. .

At the corner of the streets, the searches are systematic. The gas masks are confiscated, the bottles open, to verify that they do not contain petrol. Anyone carrying tools that can be turned into a weapon is put aside and held back. It is impossible to avoid at least three or four excavations. But overall, the tone is polite. "We try to prevent, otherwise we should blame it"growls a CRS.

"We can not take more than these taxes"

Among the demonstrators, families, couples. Provincials who find it difficult to find their way. And Daniel, from Seine-et-Marne, a worker in an aircraft factory, two years after retirement. The fear of violence? "It's only the government that wants to scare us." The concessions made this week by the Prime Minister? "This is just part of the problem Every day, the administration invents new laws … We can not take more than these taxes …"

Like everyone else, in a deserted Paris, Daniel won the Champs-Élysées on foot. Only a few accesses allow entry after a search. The others are blocked by CRS harrows and buses or gendarmerie. On the boulevard, all the shops are closed. No procession, no slogan. Only small groups occupying the sidewalk, some in peace, others waiting visibly to be able to fight and well prepared for this.

"The resignation of Macron" bring together retirees and high school students

From time to time, a Marseillaise it is sung in chorus and "Macron resignation" they are sung, joining cementists and representatives of students and students of the extreme right, in Paris and in the province. "We're not right, we're not left, it's people on the street", launches a demonstrator. Tangui is 22 years old. He is a student in Paris and an activist at Lutte Ouvrière. He hopes that what is happening is the beginning of a workers revolution. "Now it is necessary that this anger that manifests itself in the street enters the companies and that everyone goes on strike …"

Even Akila, 32, a nurse, beats the sidewalk. Earn € 1,400 per month and comes from Val-de-Marne. It is not there against taxes, but why "The overall increase in the cost of living". "We nurses, we show three or four times a year with the CGT, but we are not heard, she resumes. So, here I dropped the CGT and I came with some colleagues. " Violence has not diverted from the movement. "This is the only reason the government has backed this week"she says.

Pharmacy Publicis attacked

Short clashes erupt regularly at the top of the Champs-Elysees. The most recovered will challenge the police massed around the boulevard and in particular at the Place de l'Etoile, where the Arc de Triomphe is protected this time closely. Tear gas shots repel the crowd, which returns just as regularly. The "ballet" will last until the waning night.

While the yellow jackets are more numerous, in the afternoon the windows of the Drugstore Publicis are victims of an increase in violence. Wooden guards are torn. A fir tree is thrown on the terrace of this building, on top of which many television crews are exposed. "Li Cramez"screams the most excited, which constantly insults the BFM chain. Even here, the gases reject them.

"The thugs discredit our movement"

So, it is an Orange store that has been damaged by vandalism in this neighborhood where everything is closed. The looters take the opportunity to steal the phones. The police call some thieves. "They are thugs, they discredit our movement" plague Katy, who made the journey from La Tour du Pin (Isère), with her husband and her son.

Elsewhere, some are trying to limit looting. Rue de La Boetie, near the Champs-Elysees, when a small group rips the iron curtain of a tobacconist with bare hands, four brave men take them out of the shop. So, they are in front of the store, to keep the place. "We did not come to break … Imagine, the merchant could be your father …"

One of those still holding a cigarette carton tries to answer: "In any case, it's assured." We attack the state. " But the yellow jackets do not want to hear anything and firmly block the entrance to the store: "We'll stay there until we see the police."

Around the Boulevard Haussmann, very mobile groups also challenge the CRS, erect barricades, set them on fire, before escaping the accusations that they do not fail to follow. In these small streets of this district of offices, it is a game of cat and mouse that continues, while the armored vehicles of the mobile gendarmes leave the Champs-Elysées.

Pascal Charrier and Alain Guillemolles


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