Democracy? France announces new measures to curb yellow vest protests

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
By Paul Martin

8 January 2019

Following sustained anti-government protests the French government has announced plans to strictly control what it calls ‘unsanctioned’ protests. Wearing masks on demonstrations will also be prohibited.

Speaking on French TV channel TF1, Prime Minister Philippe said the government would support a “new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare [protests], those who take part in unauthorised demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks”.

Protest leaders have begun to be arrested. A truck driver, Eric Drouet, was arrested last week for organising an ‘unsanctioned’ protest.

Some politicians want to go further. Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the Republican party, tweeted that the move was not enough because it would not take “immediate effect”.

He said his party had previously proposed a state of emergency, adding: “Why not listen to us, at the risk of seeing the situation worsen Saturday after Saturday?”

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