'Red Scarves' march in Paris to challenge disruption of 'Yellow Vests' protests

Arturo Kim
January 28, 2019

Participants, some wearing red scarves after the name of the counter-movement, displayed slogans like "stop the violence" and "hands off my Republic" in a peaceful afternoon procession in eastern Paris that ended in Bastille square.

"I'm a yellow vest but I don't want any election list..."

Mr Rodrigues, 40, a building worker, told BFM TV he believed the police had targeted him deliberately while he was filming the demonstration.

Multiple anti-government protests took place in Paris and other cities, centred on Macron policies which are viewed as favouring the rich.

In an interview with French broadcaster LCI on Sunday, Rodrigues said that he had stayed in Paris' Place de la Bastille to encourage fellow yellow vest demonstrators to leave the area as skirmishes between the Black Bloc - another group of protesters often associated with anarchy and violent skirmishes - and the police, escalated.

The weekend's protests against Macron's tax and social policies came as divisions appeared among the yellow vests - named after the high-visibility vests they wear - as to where to take the movement.

Macron has sapped some support for the movement by taking an active role in recent days in a national debate in towns across France, launched to address the protesters' concerns. Both Rodrigues and his lawyer Philippe de Veulle said he was hit in the eye by a police rubber bullet, an anti-riot weapon that has become highly controversial in France.

The devices - which are not used in most European countries - have been blamed for dozens of serious injuries at "yellow vest" protests, leading to calls for them to be banned.

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France is deploying about 80,000 police Saturday.

To help quell discontent, Macron this month launched a series of public debates that he has promised will lead to changes.

Rodrigues´ lawyer insisted his client was not one of the "hooligans" who have been joining the weekly protests to cause trouble for police.

Other protesters threw projectiles and clashed with police trying to disperse them.

Mr de Veule said an official complaint would be made about the incident, which is already being investigated by the police.

Baptiste Baudrin, a Red Scarves member, says he will march in Paris on Sunday because the Yellow Vests have turned "anarchist and extremist".

As in previous weeks, protesters carried French flags and held signs attacking "King Macron" as out of touch or calling for referendums tabled by ordinary citizens.

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