Perhaps the most undercovered major news story today is the continuing ‘Yellow Vest’ protests in France.

They continued for the 11th week, and protesters clashed with security forces in Paris and several other cities.

Police arrested 52 people in the French capital when trouble flared as the march came to an end at Bastille Square. Groups of protesters formed makeshift barriers in the streets, lit fires and threw missiles at riot police, who responded with tear gas and water canon. There were also angry confrontations during protests in Marseille and Lyon.

…In one of several marches through the capital, a few hundred demonstrators walked down the Champs-Elysees, the famous avenue that has been the scene of protests every weekend, and across town to Bastille Square were the violent scenes unfolded.

As in previous weeks, protesters carried French flags and held signs attacking “King Macron” as out of touch or calling for referendums tabled by ordinary citizens.

Elsewhere in France, protesters marched through the eastern city of Strasbourg to the European Parliament.

In the southwest, marches took place in Bordeaux and Toulouse, which have been focal points of the movement, while there were some confrontations during protests in Marseille and Lyon.

Journalists have been the target of ‘Yellow Vest’ ire. One protester described the distrust they feel for journalists and the betrayal they have experienced by the #FakeNews media.

“We need the media to spread our demands, and they shouldn’t lash out at them,” [Christophe Chalencon, a protester in the southern Vaucluse department,] said. “But for many of my fellow protesters, journalists embody the elite that disregards them. They have been waiting to be heard for decades. Now, the journalists finally come, interview them for half an hour and include only 30 seconds of that in their reports, sometimes in a way that distorts what the protesters actually meant. That’s why many who thought they could finally tell the world about their worries now feel betrayed.”

They are not the only ones suspicious of journalists. Trust in the media is at an all-time low according to a recent poll by Kantar Sofres on behalf of La Croix daily. Only 38 percent of the French believe what TV programs tell them, 50 percent believe radio programs, and 44 percent the written press.

One European sociologist asserts that the ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters have a valid point.

Sociologist Yves Patte, who has been observing the developments from neighboring Belgium, says France is facing a crisis of confidence. “The French feel left behind by the system. That’s represented by politicians and the media, which keep organizing lofty TV debates between intellectuals instead of inviting real people,” he said.

He added that the yellow vests were practically the first “regular” people to be invited to appear on such shows.

“What’s more, French journalists are a lot less feisty with politicians than for example their British counterparts. That creates an impression of collusion.”

He believes the media should change its ways.

“They need to bring in the guy next door and better explain their methods.”

Last week, I reported that firefighter Olivier Beziade was shot in the head by French police and left in a coma. While there is no update available on his condition, another grassroots leader was injured seriously this week.

“I condemn as firmly as possible the violence and damage caused again this Saturday, both in Paris and in the regions, by vandals disguised as ‘yellow vests,’” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner wrote on Twitter.

However, he announced an internal police investigation had been launched after a protester was injured at Bastille. TV images and the victim’s Facebook page showed that Jerome Rodrigues, a prominent figure in the grassroots movement, had been wounded in the eye.

According the France24, the toll of injuries is beginning to mount.

The “Disarm” collective, a local group that campaigns against police violence, has documented 98 cases of serious injuries since the first nationwide protests on November 17, including 15 cases of people losing an eye.

The leftwing Liberation daily counted 77 people with serious head injuries, 71 caused by rubber bullets and others by stun grenades.

 
 
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