Some 233 arrests were made, 172 people taken into police custody and 107 warnings for participation in an unauthorized demonstration were registered throughout the country.
Act XIX of the movement was not very eventful. “The results are in,” the Interior Minister announced from his seat at Place Beauvau, on Saturday evening.
BFMTV reported Christophe Castaner’s statement: “All the demonstrations that have been declared have proceeded normally.” Castaner added that “instructions of firmness” were given to law enforcement and they “have helped to maintain order and avoid overflows,” he said.
According to the numbers of the Yellow Vests, some 127 212 demonstrators took to the streets around France on Saturday. It is significantly less, compared to the 269 070 protesters counted last week by the same source.
But according to the Minister of the Interior, the mobilization was up, with 40 500 demonstrators recorded everywhere in France on Saturday, including 5 000 in Paris. Last Saturday, according to the same source, they were 32 000 across the country, including 10 000 in Paris.
In Paris, 96 protesters were arrested, 80 in Nice and 20 in Montpellier. Some 8 545 preventive controls and 53 warnings in a forbidden perimeter were conducted in the capital. On the set of BFMTV, David-Olivier Reverdy, delegate from Alliance Police nationale, a French police union, said that “the instructions were clear”.
He added: “Our colleagues were left to themselves before, we were waiting for clear orders, and we received them,” he said.
French soldiers were deployed for the first time during a Yellow Vest protest this weekend. Some reports maintain that they have been given permission to use live ammunition.
According to French weekly Le Point, the military deployment follows in the wake of President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to ban protesters from the Champs-Elysees and other cities.
Les Republicans senator Bruno Retailleau called it a “fatal decision” by Macron. “The military is not trained in policing. They are trained in combat, to kill and neutralize. This decision is absolutely deplorable.”
“In what European democracy is the army called in to police a social movement?” added Raphaël Glucksmann, from France’s Socialist Party noted.
Paris military governor General Bruno Le Ray told FranceInfo, that the deployed Sentinel soldiers were “subject to the same legal framework as the internal security forces” and can “go until the opening of fire… if their life is threatened or that of people they defend”.
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