Gilets Jaunes one year on: Roadside 'big family' faces a crossroads

Gilets Jaunes are 'a big family' say these protesters
Gilets Jaunes are 'a big family' say these protesters
By Guillaume PetitAlastair Jamieson
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Protesters near Lyon tell Euronews not just of their anger but also the friendly atmosphere in which Gilets Jaunes have grown to know each other.


On the roundabouts and road junctions of suburban France, where the Gilets Jaunes movement took hold one year ago, protesters are still making their voices heard.

In these areas, where residents feel socially excluded and unfairly taxed, the year-long revolt against the government has been at its fluorescent brightest — and loudest.

In Givors, 30km south of Lyon, protesters tell Euronews not just of their ongoing anger but also the friendly atmosphere in which Gilets Jaunes grew to know each other as the weeks passed by.

"We never met each other before the Gilets Jaunes movement,” says one woman, pointing to her new friend and kissing her cheek. “Look, solidarity!”

“Yes, the Gilets Jaunes are a big family,” says her friend.

The movement is now at a crossroads

One year on, the crowds might be smaller but there is no less belief in the importance of their war on high fuel prices and softening income.

Warren Dalle, a 24-year-old student leading the local protests, has regularly attended with his mother, Sophie, a public servant who is now unemployed and living even deeper in poverty. She has been forced to move herself and Warren back in with her parents.

"I only earn 291 euros a month, and I saw all those people who were shopping and had a basket of 300 euros worth of supplies, which represents what I earn in a month,” Sophie tells Euronews.

Gilets Jaunes still protesting in Lyon after one year

“I put myself in a corner and cried alone in silence, ashamed. Ashamed to have worked for the government for only 291 euros.”

In their unity, the protesters have been able to share not only anger but also their difficulties — a way to break their isolation.

But as the movement spread into city centres, and with ever more police restriction, the groups have sometimes found themselves broken apart and scattered.

Despite the police intervention, and protest fatigue, the movement still wants to show it has something to say, but is now at a crossroads and must find a new direction if it hopes to celebrate its second anniversary.

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