Poor turnout for ‘Yellow vest’ protests - GulfToday

Poor turnout for ‘Yellow vest’ protests


Yellow vest protesters rally in Bordeaux on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Fewer protesters turned out for the 25th straight weekend of “yellow vest” anti-government demonstrations in Paris and elsewhere in france on Saturday, days after a wider May Day rally was marked by violent clashes in the French capital.

Some 3,600 protesters were taking part in marches across the country as of 1200 GMT on Saturday, compared with 5,500 a week earlier, the Interior Ministry said.

In Paris, where three rallies had been authorised, turnout was 1,000 as of 1200 GMT against 2,600 by the same time last week.

“Many of them were shocked by the behaviour and repression of last Wednesday,” Herve, one protester, said.

“So it’s not surprising to see that it’s lagging behind a bit regarding the turnout.”

In the southwestern town of Bordeaux, a journalist estimated the number of demonstrators at several hundred people against more than 2,000 a week earlier.

Separately, France will ban electric scooters from pavements in September, the transport minister said, in a backlash against a surge of the commuter gizmos invading pedestrian areas.

An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year.

Elisabeth Borne told the Le Parisien daily in remarks published Saturday that anyone riding an e-scooter, monowheel, personal transporter or hoverboard on the pavement would be fined 135 euros ($151) from September.

Instead, they will have to use the street or dedicated cycling paths, “so pedestrians are no longer squeezed against walls”, the minister said.

The development of the hugely popular personal transport vehicles “happened very fast and in a bit of an anarchic way,” Borne said.

Riders will still be allowed to push them on the pavement, so long as the engine is turned off.

Scooter rental services, from companies like US-based Lime and Bird -- and most recently ride-hailing giant Uber -- have proved wildly popular in many cities. The French move follows a decision by Peru to ban motorised scooters from pavements and pedestrian areas from this week.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo had last month already announced measures to protect pedestrians from e-scooters, “especially older people and children”.


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