these five images which symbolize the mobilization in the city of Toulouse
The Yellow Vests were born three years ago, in November 2018. Due to the importance of its demonstrations, Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) was once presented as “the capital” of the movement. Here are five strong images of this social mobilization in the pink city.
Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) was a stronghold of the Yellow Vests movement. During the forty successive Saturdays at the indicated courses they paraded in the streets of the pink city, before being interrupted by the Covid crisis, the number of demonstrators was each time one of the largest in France.
This is the place where it all began. From November 17, 2018, the mobilization of the Yellow Vests is organized on the roundabouts. Places that bring together inhabitants of rural and peri-urban areas to challenge the power over their increasingly reduced standard of living.
The increase in fuel taxation is the trigger, but very quickly the feeling of being in the neglected and mistrust vis-à-vis the political class and intermediary bodies will be expressed.
A horizontal and decentralized organization
Throughout their mobilization, the Yellow Vests have set up an unprecedented organization. First launched on social networks, the movement will bring together fringes of the population not used to marching in the streets. Unlike political parties, unions and associations, is not structured.
The idea of a representative or a spokesperson is rejected – even if some figures have emerged like Eric Drouet, Priscillia Ludosky, Maxime Nicolle. In Toulouse, Benjamin Cauchy, a young 38-year-old executive, took center stage in the media a few days before he was rejected by the Yellow Vests of Haute-Garonne because of his far-right activism.
Without real legitimacy, the former elected representative of Debout la France and current support of Eric Zemmour continues to claim to be the voice of the movement.
The social demands of the Yellow Vests can be read on the signs of the demonstrations. The fall in fuel prices at the pump, in particular after the increase in the domestic consumption tax on energy products (TICPE), is one of the first demands of the movement.
But there is also a call for more direct and participatory democracy through the citizens’ initiative referendum. (RIC), better control of parliamentarians, the creation of citizens’ assemblies drawn by lot or the gratitude blank vote. The resignation of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron is also another recurring demand in the processions on Saturday.
Clashes and degradations
Very quickly, the Saturday demonstrations were the scene of numerous clashes between the police and demonstrators, but also of significant material damage. Urban furniture, banks, insurance are destroyed, tagged, set on fire at the end of the parades like on December 8, 2018 in Toulouse (Haute Garonne).
Scores of police officers were also injured. According to the Toulouse prosecutor’s office, of the Yellow Vests movement, between 20 and 45 people placed in police custody every weekend.
In one year, from October 2018, in total, the justice carried out 792 arrests in one year with 663 police custody and 329 people referred.
Violence against protesters is reaching a level rarely seen. Hand torn off, eye punctured. Many Gilets Jaunes are injured due to the use of defensive ball throwers (LBD) and de-encirclement grenades from the police.
In April 2019, the Observatory of Police Practices issued a report denouncing “a disproportionate and dangerous law enforcement system for public freedoms” in Toulouse concerning the demonstrators, but also the journalists also targeted.
During the first five demonstrations in the city pink 151 people were physically injured according to the Practices Observatory. That is about twice as many as the figures released by the prefecture at the time.