'Following the large turnout throughout France for the eighth week of “yellow vest” (Gilets jaunes) protests this past Saturday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on French television Monday night the imposition of an extraordinary law to suppress the demonstrations. Taking up measures initially put forward by the neo-fascists, he proposed that demonstrators be placed on government subversive lists and subjected to financial sanctions.
Philippe admitted that the “yellow vest” protests express social anger shared by workers throughout France, and indeed across Europe. “From the beginning, in the statements of the ‘yellow vests’, there were demands for more purchasing power, speaking for French people who felt forgotten and ignored,” he declared.
But despite this admission, Philippe stressed that his government would not change its widely hated policy, but rather would seek to suppress the movement by putting in place additional obstacles to the right to demonstrate and strengthening the vast police apparatus for use against the population.
He announced that protesters would be registered on a list in order to ban them from demonstrating, using a method similar to the “hooligan card,” which permits police to prevent certain individuals from entering football stadiums. In addition, he would impose penalties against demonstrations that have not been registered with the prefecture. “The government is in favor of changing our law and punishing those who do not respect this reporting [registration] obligation,” he declared.
Philippe also proposed measures to allow the police to impose heavy sentences on protesters. “For those who come in hoods (cagoulé), today it is a misdeed; tomorrow it must be a crime. It must be the thugs who pay and not the taxpayers,” he said. He added: “We cannot accept that some people take advantage of these demonstrations to riot, to break and burn things. These people will never have the last word in our country.”'
Read more: French Prime Minister proposes government registry of demonstrators
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