PARIS: Hundreds of women on Sunday marched in Paris to reclaim France’s “yellow vest” movement from violent activists, a day after protesters smashed their way into a government ministry. The women, wearing yellow vests, turned out after 50,000 people returned to the streets of France on Saturday amid violent clashes with police.
“All the media ever reports is the violence, and we are forgetting the root of the problem” which is the fight against austerity, said one protester, Karen, a 42-year-old nurse from Marseille.
There were also women’s demonstrations in Caen, northwestern France, and Montceau-les-Mines, central-eastern France. In the southwestern city of Toulouse, 300 women took to the streets shouting: “Macron your goose is cooked, the chicks are in the street.”
The interior ministry put the number of protesters who took to the streets on Saturday at 50,000, compared with 32,000 on Dec 29 when the movement appeared to be weakening after holding a series of weekly Saturday protests since mid-November.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, who was evacuated from his ministry in central Paris when a handful of protesters in high-visibility vests smashed down the large wooden door to the ministry compound on Saturday, denounced the break-in as an “unacceptable attack on the Republic”.
“Some yellow vest protesters and other people dressed in black … got hold of a construction vehicle which was in the street nearby and smashed open the entrance gate to the ministry,” he said. They briefly entered the courtyard where they smashed up two cars, broke some windows then escaped, he added, saying police were trying to identify them from security footage.