Attempt to summarize a thought or at least an atmosphere that would be that of the “yellow vests”, from the proliferation of their groups on Facebook, is more than a challenge as the debates are open, permanent, and various offensives and scattered .
The “yellow vests” have hundreds, thousands of groups, sometimes local and representing a department or a city, sometimes more transversal. But they also debate through the comments they leave to each other, or discuss the margins of events organized on the platform.
Elysee, peripheral, media?
This is a first point of confusion: the initial project of part of the “yellow vests”, led by Eric Drouet, figure of the challenge, was to walk on the Elysee. These remarks led to his being investigated for “Provocation to the commission of a crime or offense” and “Organization of an unlawful event”. His fate occupied a large part of the conversations on this eve of “Act IV” of the movement. Dozens of Internet users report in the comments, that one of the few leading figures of the movement had been arrested and placed in custody, and that his home had been searched. Finally, he himself gave news: “I'm not in custody but I had to be there if I was at home”, confirming that an investigation was open.
Faced with the outcry aroused by his call to walk on the Elysee, Drouet has in the second time called to occupy the Paris ring road. A place “Where there is nothing to break, nothing to destroy, but where we can scream our rage”As the new invitation now indicates, which has 1,300 confirmed participants and 5,000 interested parties.
But Eric Drouet may be very present in the media, but this does not make him the most followed representative. Thus, another event, which proclaims “Tous à l'Elysée”, already has 2,800 participants and 17,000 interested. And “Manu, we arrive”, organized by “Info Bloc France”, displays 10,000 participants and 50,000 interested. There are half a dozen similar events, and about as many plan an action on the Champs-Elysees.
Other options are also mentioned. It is thus proposed to those who wish to meet at the Maison de la Radio, in Paris, for an action called “Vests yellow, we take control of the media! A choice to avoid the fear of some of those who express themselves on Facebook: undermine the popularity of the movement because of scenes of looting and destruction similar to those of the 1st December. ” We do not want “yellow vests” to be likened to thugsexplains in a short video Steven Lebee, administrator of the page “France angry! “.
But this choice does not satisfy another part of the “yellow vests”: “Anything, what is the periphery for what? Shitting people, nothing more », responds a sympathizer in the comments of the video. Others call squarely not to go to Paris: ” Above all, do not fall into the trap set by this government that wants you to go to Paris and hopes that it degenerates to legitimize the return of the state of emergency where all our rights will be totally violated “, explains Myriam. Another “yellow vest” urges:
“This scheduled gathering is and has always been peaceful. By this one, we recall that the citizens wish to be heard on their claims. We will show peacefully whether they like it or not !!! Breakers and violent, you are undesirable !! swimsuit + device. ”
A permanent debate
It would be wrong to think that the movement is unanimous, it is the opposite: an incessant debate between moderates and more radical, whether on the modes of action or the goal to be achieved. The variety of actions planned Saturday in Paris is impressive and illustrative: Champs-Elysees, ring road, Elysee, so, but also “All at Bercy” (792 participants) or, therefore, the House of the radio.
If the messages “Stop violence” are frequent, in the comments of these events we prepare to relive a difficult day: “Think of the shields to face the lines of CRS”, one user explains, while another tells a series of tips against tear gas. Several posts suggest that the demonstrators kneel, hands on the back of the neck, facing armored gendarmerie. The presence of these machines, rarely used, is the subject of many comments, shared between fear and impression of a panic of power.
The security device was detailed in the day of Friday by the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, at a press conference that was very much followed by the yellow vests. “ Provocation again … strategy of fear … Manipulation … They play their last cards so that we do not go to the end “, analyzes a member of “France angry !!! “.
For many voices speaking in these groups and these “events”, it does not matter “Nothing to let go”. But the debate is keen, while several polls seem to indicate a weakening of the support of the opinion to this movement. “The yellow vests did their job, they made Macron fold”, launches a participant. “Polls are handled”, retorts another immediately. “Macron did not bend at all, wake up, fuel taxes blocked for six months is enough for you? “ question a third. A fourth protagonist summarizes: Here we have a unique opportunity to bring about profound change, this is what the majority wants everywhere and all the time, people sigh their galley with years of years and as soon as it is necessary to leave of his small comfort, c is abandonment. ”
Referendums, “Frexit” and recoveries
The solutions, precisely, begin to emerge. For a few days now, a new project has stirred up the yellow vests groups: the RIC, a “citizens' initiative referendum”. The principle of this idea, which exists partly in Switzerland, is simple: from a certain threshold of citizen signatures, we can trigger a referendum to establish or repeal a law, terminate a political mandate or amend the Constitution . The idea appeals because it allows to have only one claim, that of the establishment of such a system, which will then obtain the rest through referendums, plead the supporters of this project, including Maxime Nicolle , aka “Fly Rider”, another figure of the movement. “A RIC or nothing,” says a yellow placard imitating that of a famous aperitif.
Behind this idea, there is Etienne Chouard, former teacher who made himself known thirteen years, becoming, thanks to his website, the flag-bearer of the “no” camp in the referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty. The character, with sometimes dubious speeches, enjoys since his invitation alongside Jean Lassalle in a webcast, BTLV, followed by the “yellow jackets”, a strong popularity.
He is not alone in trying to impose his views on the movement. The militants of the Republican Popular Union (UPR) of François Asselineau are also at the maneuver. Although there are several lists of demands for “yellow vests”, none has ever been unanimously approved to be considered as consensual among those who claim to be part of the movement. But in recent days has appeared a new “official” list, which includes new proposals close to those of the UPR, such as the “Frexit” (the departure of France from the European Union) or the exit of NATO .