After months of clashes, “Act 12” of the main Gilet Jaunes (yellow vest) marches today is setting itself squarely against police and fascist violence – and calls are growing for a general strike.
A fascist attack launched against a procession at Act 11 by anti-capitalist party NPA last Saturday shook the left sections of the yellow vests. Several groups have since pledged to join together to avoid leaving a procession of people not ready to repel this kind of attack.
Much of the dynamic however is expected to focus tomorrow around a callout of solidarity towards the families of victims of police crimes. Several groups of Yellow Vests from Paris (Rungis, Montreuil, Belleville) are joining this initiative, which comes as the government beefs up police powers once again and actively tries to ban “troublemakers” from participating — alongside fines of 15,000 Euros for covering your face.
Organisers of the rally said in a statement:
Since the beginning of the Yellow Vests movement, every Saturday we have witnessed a surge of violence throughout the country. The Macron government and its interior minister Castaner are entirely responsible for this situation.
Obstruction of the freedom to demonstrate, women and men mutilated for life.
Zineb Redouane, 80, was seriously injured in the face by a tear gas grenade thrown by police in her apartment, during a demonstration of Gilets Jaunes in Marseille. She died Sunday, December 2 at the hospital. Nearly 2,000 have been injured since the beginning of the movement, including 100 seriously wounded. Mutilated, éborgnés, hands torn off, as a consequence of this repression.
Our solidarity is with the victims, their families, lives ruined for demonstrating for their dignity.
We must remember that all this violence is part of a historical continuity, for 40 years in the banlieus we’ve counted the deaths of hundreds of young people, mutilated in the general indifference of the rest of society. All weapons used against the movement of Yellow Vests are massively used daily in our neighborhoods.
We must demand Truth and Justice for all the victims of the police and the gendarmerie without distinction.
The march is demanding, among other things prohibition of fatal immobilisation techniques, flashballs, LBD and GLI 4, the dissolution of the hated Brigade Anti-Criminalite and a general protester amnesty.
It comes just days before a major trade union mobilisation called by the CGT, with a 24-hour energy sector strike nominally calling for wage and pensions improvements but aligned to the Gilet Jaunes timetable. It’s the second such strike in two months, with a 48-hour walkout having happened in December.
February 5th has quickly turned into an appeal for a general strike however, and for the last several weeks in different occupied public spaces and assemblies, yellow vests and unions have been meeting and asking major power plant branches to widen the callout.
Paris-Lutte explained: “Trade unions are not very well represented among many yellow vests, temporary workers, fixed-term workers, unemployed workers and employees in small units. The street protests allowed a lot of people to finally participate in a social movement. However, for many private and public service employees, the mobilisation capacities of the unions remain effective. A strike that goes beyond the key areas of labor mobilisation could be really powerful.”
Several unions, including the Union Syndicale Solidaires, have declared themselves ready to embark on a general indefinite strike. Mainstream unions such as FO, FSU and Solidaires seem to be close to getting their act in gear as well, with strike notices been filed ahead of time. Key however will be whether these can coalesce with sufficient force.
Pic: Acte IX by Pascal Maga