France fury: Yellow vest protester ‘blinded by police grenade’ during ‘violent attack’ | World | News

The yellow vest movement started last November as a peaceful protest against rising living costs, but swiftly morphed into a wider rebellion against the centrist government. A new wave of yellow vest protests hit the streets last weekend to mark the anniversary of the demonstrations, but violence spilled over. A yellow vest activist blinded in one eye by a police grenade during an anti-government rally in Paris on Saturday was the victim of a “violent attack,” according to his lawyer and partner.

The girlfriend of Manuel T, a 41-year-old protester, said on Tuesday that her partner has lost the use of his left eye after being hit by a tear gas grenade during a standoff between protesters and riot police.

Séverine D told AFP: “Physically, he’s in a lot of pain. On a moral level … he’s feeling like anyone else would feel after finding out he’s been blinded in one eye.  

“He’s overwhelmed by a sentiment of injustice. He’s taken part in almost every Saturday rally and never been injured.

“He’s never looked for trouble and now he’s lost an eye,” she continued, adding that he would “obviously file a complaint” against police.

The couple’s lawyer, Arié Alimi, for his part, denounced a “violent attack” by riot police.

Paris police chief Didier Lallement said earlier this week that the IGPN – the French “police of police” – had been tasked with investigating the incident after a video of the alleged assault was shared online.  

A number of protesters, and some bystanders, have been blinded in one eye or seriously injured after being hit by rubber bullets or stun or tear gas grenades since the start of the citizen-led revolt.

At least 24 people are said to have lost the use of an eye.

Demonstrators torched bins and cars and hurled stones and bottles at police as protests in Paris descended into violence over the weekend. Police responded with tear gas and blasts from water cannons.

Rioters, many clad in black and hiding their faces, vandalised an HSBC bank branch at the Place d’Italie. Clashes also broke out between demonstrators and police near the Porte de Champerret, close to the Arc de Triomphe.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner blamed “foolish thugs and brutes” on Sunday for the unrest.

When asked about the weekend’s violence, Mr Castaner told Europe 1 radio: “Yesterday, what we saw were few demonstrators but many thugs, brutes and fools.”

A total of 28,000 people demonstrated nationwide on Saturday, including 4,700 in Paris, according to the interior ministry. Paris police took 124 people in for questioning.

This was more than in recent weeks but 10 times less than the record 282,000 estimated across France on November 17, 2018, the first day of the protests.

The yellow vest movement, so-called because of the high-visibility jackets worn by demonstrators, erupted last November over planned fuel tax hikes and the high cost of living.

But the protests quickly morphed into a wider rebellion against President Emmanuel Macron’s government, widely perceived as arrogant and indifferent to citizens’ needs.

The protests have lost momentum, but leaders urged people to take to the streets to mark the anniversary.

The social crisis was one of the toughest challenges to Mr Macron’s presidency, forcing him to make policy concessions and delay the next wave of reforms.

The revolt, however, did not dent the 41-year-old’s determination to reform France. He recently embarked on the second, and likely most perilous, leg of his reform drive by launching an overhaul of the country’s unwieldy and expensive pension system.

In addition to merging the country’s 42 separate pension schemes into a single, more transparent points-based system, the reform also aims to close chronic deficits, which the government hopes to wipe out by 2025.

Trade unions and yellow vests have called for a general strike on December 5 to rally against the planned pension overhaul, which they say will force people to work longer and for less.

Related posts

Russia bombs Islamic State targets in Syria with newest missiles: agencies


Missile test: Russia fire nuclear-capable weapon during military exercise on EU border | World | News


World War 3: Iran and Israel conflict likely in Syria claims USA James Mattis | World | News


Leave a Comment