French PM Boasts Almost 2,000 Yellow Vests Have Been Convicted

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced during a speech in the National Assembly, that close to 2,000 activists who participated in the Yellow Vests rallies have been convicted. 

Around 8,400 arrests have been made since the protests began. 

“Since the beginning of these events, 1796 sentences have been pronounced by the court and 1422 people are still awaiting trial,” Philippe said. He added: “More than 1300 immediate appearances were held and 316 people received an arrest warrant.”

Philippe also expressed his dismay over the violent interactions of protesters with French police:

“Who can say that this act is in any expression of a social claim? It’s not. It’s a serious attack on who we are. It is reprehensible.”

The police had to deal with masked militants called “casseurs” or ”vandals” who threw stones at the police and urinated outside the Parliament building. On Saturday, demonstrators burned luxury cars in Paris and smashed store windows and ATM. 

The demonstrations have stretched to their 13th weekend. The protesters show no signs of slowing down. They are determined to push President Emmanuel Macron out.  The weekly protests have taken a toll on France.

The French government had to compensate the income lost by workers affected by ongoing protests. 

The government has already released 38 million Euros to support employees whose working hours were reduced due to rallies. In total, the government said that 72,600 people in 5,000 companies were affected.

Rioting and looting have cost insurance companies 89 million Euros. 

The number of protesters who rallied on the streets in the capital and Southern France was noticeably lower than in previous weeks.  Although the turnout has been declining, the majority of French people remain supportive of the Yellow Vest movement. 

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron has started addressing major concerns, in particular, the burdensome gas tax increase that set off the protests. 

Macron’s administration initiated the “great debate” which is a series of town hall meetings where grievances can be heard and discussed. 

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