KNEELING PROTESTER-THE NEW SYMBOL OF THE VESTS
Published time: 8 Dec, 2018 16:00
Protesters kneel in front French riot police near the Champs-Elysees Avenue at a demonstration by the "yellow vests" movement in Paris. © Reuters / Benoit Tessier
A yellow vest has firmly become a symbol of protest in France. Yet this Saturday demonstrators added something new – they kneeled in front of police, denouncing the humiliating arrests of high school students caught on video.
The town of Mantes-la-Jolie, west of Paris, has found itself at the center of a scandal after a controversial video showed police detentions of students from a local high school. The protesters were clashing with police and officers resorted to quite disputable measures during the arrests – they forced the detainees to kneel.
This fact may have been left unknown but for a camera which captured the teens, who were protesting the education reform, kneeling in mud with heads bowed and hands behind their heads. Some of them were lined up facing a wall. Police officers in full riot gear walked with batons among the students.
The footage stirred public anger, people compared it to an execution by firing squad and branded it as intolerable.
The situation found a receptive audience among Yellow Vest protests that are sweeping France and neighboring Belgium on Saturday.
Yellow vests' protest in Brussels © Reuters / Yves Herman
People in yellow vests in Paris, Marseille and even Brussels are kneeling before officers, riot police and armored vehicles, amid tear gas.
A protester faces off with French CRS riot police in Paris. © Reuters / Stephane Mahe
That’s how they express solidarity with these 150 teens with backpacks from Mantes-la-Jolie who were arrested.
Protesters as they take part in a demonstration in Marseille © Reuters / Jean-Paul Pelissier
The gesture has probably become another symbol of the whole movement, aimed to make the government finally listen to the voices of the people, not the rich.
Near the Champs-Elysees Avenue © Reuters / Benoit Tessier
Demonstrators kneel in front of French CRS riot police in Paris © Reuters / Stephane Mahe
A woman kneels in front of police blocking the street during the "yellow vests" protest against higher fuel prices, in Brussels, Belgium © Reuters / Yves Herman