Yellow vest protesters target French media as movement ebbs
PARIS –Yellow vest protesters marched on the headquarters of leading French broadcasters Saturday, as small groups turned out Saturday in Paris and around France despite waning momentum for their movement.
Hundreds of demonstrators, some chanting “Journalists – Collaborationists!” traced a path around Paris visiting the central offices of television networks BFM and state-run France Televisions and announced plans to march to other broadcasters.
Some members of the broad-based yellow vest movement accuse leading media of favoring President Emmanuel Macron’s government and big business and minimizing the protests — even though they’ve been the leading news story in France since they kicked off Nov. 17 out of anger at fuel tax hikes.
Dozens of protesters tried to march Saturday on the elegant, tourist-filled Champs-Elysees — 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 holiday season and winter chill may have put a damper on Saturday’s turnout, along with a raft of concessions by Macron to calm the movement after rioting nearly reached his presidential palace earlier this month.
Despite 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.
Peaceful gatherings were held 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, tangling traffic and letting just a few drivers through at a time, 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 of spectators.
The movement quickly spread beyond the fuel tax worries to encompass broad French anger at Macron’s economic policies. It’s named after the fluorescent protective gear French motorists must keep in their cars.