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In Paris, ‘Red Scarves’ March to Counter Yellow Vest Protests

PARIS — Thousands of protesters marched through Paris on Sunday to condemn the violence of the Yellow Vest movement, which has rocked France for weeks with angry protests over President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

Some 10,000 people turned out for the counter-demonstration, a day after an 11th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest demonstrations across France was marked by sporadic clashes with police.

On Sunday, demonstrators marched with signs displaying slogans like “stop the violence” and “hands off my Republic. ” Some, taking a branding cue from the Yellow Vests, donned red scarves, casting themselves as the Foulards Rouges.

Unlike many of the Yellow Vest marches, the afternoon procession in eastern Paris remained peaceful, ending at the Place de la Bastille.

The Yellow Vest march in the capital on Saturday also ended at Bastille, where small groups confronted the police and a demonstrator suffered an eye wound that inflamed a debate about whether the authorities are using excessive force.

The Yellow Vest protesters, who wear the fluorescent jackets that French motorists are required to have in their cars, took to the streets in November to oppose a fuel tax rise. Their movement then developed into a broader revolt against the government.

Around 69,000 people attended the protests on Saturday, including 4,000 in Paris, a lower turnout than the previous weekend, the Interior Ministry said.

But the eye injury suffered by the well-known activist, Jerome Rodrigues, attracted more news coverage on Sunday than the “Red Scarves” march. It heightened debate over the police use of dispersal grenades and so-called flash ball pellet guns.

To help quell discontent, Mr. Macron this month launched a series of public debates that he has promised will lead to changes.


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