It is hard to count demonstrators spread out across thousands of mobilizations, but it seems that over half a million people were involved in “Act Four” of the Yellow Vests mobilization in France on Saturday, Dec. 8.
In Bordeaux, a huge joint demonstration uniting university students and Yellow Vests chanted: “Students and Yellow Vests! Same Macron! Same struggle!” In Toulouse, Lyon, Saint Etienne, Marseilles, Dieppe and dozens of other towns, many thousands marched. Even in smaller places like Albi or Auch, there was a fine Yellow Vests demonstration.
A lively picket was organized in front of the factory in Sarthe, which makes tear gas grenades. At Saint-Avold, in the east of France, a replica of a guillotine was placed at a major roundabout. A few days earlier in the port of Saint Nazaire in Brittany, demonstrators repainted the banks of the town in bright yellow, while a cake shop owner in the south started selling special lemon eclairs in the form of a Yellow Vests protester!
A people’s movement like this can never stand still: It has to keep rising or it will quickly decline. People make sacrifices to go out and occupy the roundabouts and motorway toll booths, they find the time and money to go to Paris or to the regional capital for the Saturday demonstration, and they live the stressful life of activism. But they want results. Although the togetherness and the dignity of resistance are important to people, unless some progress is seen each week, the temptation to go home, watch TV and repaint your bathroom instead will tend to win out.