French territory: For the fifth consecutive Saturday, the yellow vests of 76 and 27 decided to demonstrate in Rouen. This is the tenth act of mobilization and the attendance does not wane in the streets of the city.
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Two water cannons
For the fifth consecutive Saturday, the yellow vests of 76 and 27 decided to demonstrate in Rouen. This is the tenth act of mobilization and the attendance does not wane in the streets of the city. Meeting point was at the Cathedral and the songs resound all morning. Information was going round: two CRS water cannons are waiting for us today. This was the first time they have been deployed in Rouen against the yellow vests movement. The last time was in the aftermath of the Theo case (a young man raped by four police officers in Aulnay-sous-bois in 2017). Many young people on the left bank of Rouen expressed their support for the victim back then and clashes with the police lasted for several days.
Going for the police station, courthouse and state prosecutor’s office
But on this morning of Saturday, January 19, the situation was calm. The police tactic was passive and the yellow vests were running through the streets of the city. The mood was perfect: inscriptions on the walls, songs, firecrackers and smoke. After the police station on Place Beauvoisine, the courthouse and the prosecutor’s office were targeted. Bottles full of paint burst on the windows, and the main gate of the palace was forced open under chants of “Amnesty for all yellow vests”.
During lunch break, huge banners are were hung up on top of the scaffolding at City Hall. The action was widely applauded and sparked the second half of the game. The demo was energetic and the determination clear. Tension was rising rapidly, especially around the station. This was the moment that the police started their first action: a regular gassing of the crowd.
The BAC attacked the Bloc
The BAC intervenes immediately, straight out of the rue du Donjon. Unlike the other weeks, they ran into the crowd and attacked protesters in a direct fight. A flashball shot went off and hits the back of a yellow vest who was only on a 5 meters distance. The current controversy over this weapon does not seem to be enough to reduce its use. The police continue to shoot people fleeing at close range.
The demo returned to Jeanne d’Arc Street. CRS lines were much more oppressive than in previous weeks and are progressing rapidly. The BAC, which had been brought to the front, managed to take the lead and cut the procession off at the level of the palace space. The relatively sparse front of the demo was caught at the level of the post office on rue Jeanne d’Arc.
A seized banner and about ten arrests
The BAC charged and seemed to pursue only one objective: the banner “We live to walk on the heads of the kings” which was at the front during the last three demonstrations. They managed to grab it: “Grab it! there! “. The yellow vests tried to escape the police as fast as they could, some succeeded by chance, by slalom or by taking refuge in the bookshop l’Armitière. Others were arrested. We deplore about ten arrests.
The demonstration, divided into various demos scattered throughout the city, continued to wander around police forces throughout the afternoon. Several hundred yellow vests were able to react on cathedral square. A large bonfire (garbage) was started. The police intervened violently, resuming the hunt for the last demonstrators until early evening. Burning barricades, a few clashes and new arrests were the last notable elements of the day.
Acte XI Évreux?
Although the mobilization in Rouen did not falter during act X, the yellow vests seem to stumble against the limits of the demonstrations in Rouen. The terrain is well established, with demonstrators as well as police forces on the side, leaving little room for the unexpected. Clear targets and objectives are missing. The fear of injury is in everyone’s head and undermines the yellow vest courage despite the widely used defence equipment.
Next week, for Act XI, many yellow vests from the region are calling to convergence in Evreux. The prefectoral decrees in the department of Eure, prohibiting grouping of yellow vests, were renewed by the prefect to go beyond the short judicial victory that had made it possible to have the decrees suspended. Faced with this aberration, the yellow vests of the 27th have gone up and intend to mark the occasion in this city which is home to the prefecture. The desire to change the location is felt by many people in Normandy, and this call is a great opportunity to do it! But don’t worry, some of the hardcore demonstrators from Rouen will still be beating the pavement in the Normandy capital next Saturday.
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