PARIS: Yellow Vests protesters have returned to the streets of Paris to honor those injured in months of demonstrations and to condemn the police for using rubber-ball projectiles.
An estimated 13,800 people gathered between Daumesnil and Republic avenues, according to a count by Occurrence cited by Liberation. Live coverage of the protests show clashes with police firing tear gas into the crowds of demonstrators on the smoke-choked streets in Paris.
Lines of riot police are facing off against protesters.
Some of those marching through the French capital bear the scars of their injuries, with prominent protester Jerome Rodrigues covering his wounded eye with a patch.
Rodrigues has become a symbol of the violence of the protests after he was injured during clashes with police. But he’s not the only one to become a victim of 12-week rally. Officials estimate at least 1,900 protesters have been injured since protests began on November 17.
Protesters have been maimed and lost eyes from police use of Defense Ball Launchers (LBD’s), rubber-ball projectiles. The Council of State ruled Friday that security forces have the right to use the projectiles after the French Human Rights League and trade unions requested they be banned.
A number of journalists have been injured covering the demonstrations and at least 17 people have reportedly lost eyes, according to Disarm collective, which has counted over 100 people seriously injured.
Macron is being slammed by protesters who say his economic policies favor the rich. The Yellow Vests are calling for a ‘Citizens’ Initiative Referendum’ to decide whether to bring in regular public votes on government policy proposals. Macron has said he wouldn’t rule out the idea of a public vote, once it doesn’t undermine parliamentary decisions, but refused to entertain a referendum on a tax cut for the wealthy.
The Yellow Vest movement was born from government-proposed tax hikes on fuel, which was subsequently scrapped. It has since evolved to tackle other issues of discontent.
Ten people have died during the protests, including in traffic incidents as the demonstrators set up roadblocks and protests on roundabouts.__RT.com