From Paris, Léa Bouchoucha reports for Consortium News on two sets of demonstrators, some of whom are mingling while others keep a distance.
Some had hoped the two marches in Paris last Saturday— one focused on global warming and the other representing the 18th straight weekend of Yellow Vest protests — would join forces and help unite environmental activism with social equity.
On March 8, Cyril Dion, a well-known documentary film maker and environmental writer, gave a joint interview to Le Parisian with Priscillia Ludosky, considered one of the founders of the Yellow Vest movement, in which they both encouraged protesters to march together.
To an extent that happened. Yellow vests were a common sight in the climate demonstrations on Saturday. And nongovernmental groups — Greenpeace France, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, SOS Racisme, Friends of the Earth, 350.org and Alternatiba — voiced a fusion of environmental and economic demands. “Time to change industrial, political and economic systems, to protect the environment, society and individuals,” was a typical message expressed on one banner.
The climate march included a “Revolutionary Grandmother” at left. (Lea Bouchoucha)
The contrasts between the two demonstrations, however, wound up drawing the main press attention.Coverage by outlets such as Reuters and the Associated Press emphasized how the march on climate change — which drew around 45,000 in Paris, according to media estimates — was peaceful and included movie stars. The smaller Yellow Vest demonstration in the capital, estimated at around 10,000, was marked by rioting and vandalism.
Some Yellow Vests disagree with violence in demonstrations. But plenty of images have spread on social media that show a few protesters posing proudly in front of vandalized, expensive restaurants and luxury shops along the Champs-Elysées Avenue.
A strong majority of French — 84 percent of those polled — condemned the violence in a survey released March 20 by Elabe, an independent consultancy.
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