The Interior Ministry counted 22,300 protesters at the last of the now weekly protests on April 6. Since then, the government has presented the findings of the “Great Debate” – the nationwide listening exercise organized to quell the anger of the “yellow vests” – though President Emmanuel Macron has yet to make any policy announcements on the back of the results.
This week, the new “anti-hooligan” law came into effect which includes new crimes such as covering one’s face during demonstrations without a legitimate motive, though the constitutional council struck down provisions for banning individuals from protests.
In the French city of Toulouse, Police forces have clashed with protesters and used flash balls and tear gas against rock-throwing protesters. Several people got injured in the clashes.
The government has repeatedly denounced the actions of violent thugs who they say have infiltrated the movement and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner described the new law on Twitter as one that “protects the French from insecurity and violence” and “protects our institutions and our liberties.”
The rallies started in mid-November to protest against Macron’s planned fuel price hikes, but they snowballed into a national movement, rejecting Macron’s policies and his leadership.