France: Yellow Vest Chaos Continues! Macron Panics and Hires New, More Brutal Police Chief!
France is holding Tuesday of rage today. Forty percent of elementary school teachers went on a nationwide strike. The protesters were not stopped by the prime minister's speech which promised to increase fines for riots and ban any demonstrations if radicals are noticed in the crowd. Also, from now on, it is forbidden to hold rallies on the Champs Elysees in Paris, in the center of Bordeaux and Toulouse… Those are the places where the yellow vests were rioting.
See Anastasia Popova's report.
The striking teachers and students in Toulouse tried to prevent from closing the lycee. The police used pepper gas and batons against women. Two petroleum refineries were blocked this night. The situation got into President Macron's hair. After the Saturday riots, he had to interrupt his skiing holiday in the Pyrenees and return to Paris.
Emmanuel Macron: «There are people who don't remember why they took the streets except for destroying everything. We decided to change the system of public order in response to the protests@.
But the majority on the streets are ordinary people… They are air traffic controllers, doctors, students, transportation workers.
»The yellow vests still persist. There are those indeed who use violence but it's only shown on TV".
Today is peaceful, but the president lost his temper and fired the capital's police chief, Michel Delpuech, for the riots on Saturday. The government demands that the new chief should take even tougher measures including the use of stun grenades that can inflict damage with fragments.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe: «We will disperse any rally. I asked to change the system of law enforcement agencies operation by delegating more power to them and introducing new equipment including drones, video surveillance to conduct maneuvers and arrests, and other equipment».
There are thousands of arrested and wounded due to the usage of rubber bullets, teargas, and stun grenades. The protesters and officials still can't establish a dialogue. In response to marches and demands to raise wages, cut taxes, new bans are being introduced. One can be arrested for covering their face during rallies. Rallies on the Champs Elysees will be banned because they bother tourists. By the way, tourist traffic is down by 60%. Customers of luxury boutiques and restaurants are also protected by the ban. Some enterprises are still closed, some are being restored.
The damage from the protests is estimated at €170 million. This number doesn't take into account the image losses and lost profits of the French capital. The confrontation between the yellow vests and the authorities faces a new round of violence. Neither of them is going to give up fighting.
Anastasia Popova, Ilya Vernadsky, Vesti, Paris, France.