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“No Irreparable Violence” Against Yellow Vests? Macron’s Comments Are Scandalous

Shortly after the G7, Emmanuel Macron tackled the management of the Yellow Vests movement, during which the worst was “avoided”. He added that there had been no “irreparable violence”. Personalities reminded him of certain facts.

Invited by the “France 2” TV news programme on August 26th, a few hours after the closing of the G7 in Biarritz, Emmanuel Macron engaged in the perilous but now traditional exercise of “at the same time”. Objective: to try to explain the hundreds of woundings (sometimes serious, even mutilated) that happened on the margins of the Yellow Vests movement.

Evoking a “collective madness” that appeared during certain episodes of the mobilisation, the President of the Republic stated: “The violence was such that it was not possible to say, in one fell swoop: ‘We stop using the LBD, we disarm'[…] It was still necessary that order be maintained. And it was not held in a way where there was what I would call irreparable violence. The worst was avoided thanks to [the] professionalism [of the police].”

And the head of state to evoke, at the same time, the “unacceptable […] wounds” that were inflicted among the police and the demonstrators, calling to carry out investigations and to take possible sanctions if necessary. “Throughout this period, there has been no death to mourn,” he continues, dismissing the case of Steve, “in the hands of justice”, and the “suspicious death” of Zineb Redouane, an octogenarian who died in Marseille after being hit in the face by pieces of tear gas when she was at her window on the day of a protest.

Lawyers, politicians, and the wounded contest Emmanuel Macron’s vision

Interviewed by “France Info” on August 27th, Arié Alimi, a lawyer who is a member of the national office of the League for Human Rights and a counsellor for several Yellow Vests, spoke about Emmanuel Macron’s “terrible and deeply dangerous words”. “What would you think of a man who, faced with the families of these dead, mutilated people, who have lost a limb or an eye, would tell them that there has been no irreparable violence?” she questioned.

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The lawyer and regional counsellor of Nouvelle Aquitaine Europe Ecology – The Greens Jean-François Blanco was also outraged: “Thus to lose a hand, to lose an eye would not be ‘irreparable’. The insupportable newspeak of Macron to evoke the ‘mutilations’ inflicted on victims of police violence”.

The leader of the Left Social Democratic Party Gerard Filoche published a photo showing the portraits of dozens of wounded during the mobilisations of Yellow Vests, with Emmanuel Macron in the foreground.

For the psychoanalyst Gerard Miller, close to La France Insoumise (LFI), “what is staggering in the choice of such an inappropriate adjective is the absurd denial it assumes and which does not deceive anyone”.

The Paris LFI counsellor Danièle Simonnet also wonders: “For Macron, the police did not commit ‘irreparable violence’ during the Yellow Vests movement? And Zineb Redouane? And lost eyes because of LBD?”

The journalist David Dufresne, who has recorded the number of injured protesters since November 2018, reacted on Twitter: “‘Unacceptable but not irreparable’, really? Recall: – two deaths, – 24 lost eyes, – 5 hands blown off, – maimed, schoolboys wounded outside of school, mutilated and socially isolated, etc.”

Fiorina Lignier, struck during a Parisian demonstration of the Yellow Vests (and who was also number two on the list of Renaud Camus “La Ligne Claire” for the European Elections in 2019), posted on Twitter a snapshot of the scan of her skull, saying: “Macron speaks of violence that is ‘unacceptable but not irreparable’. I lost an eye and my face is not the same, this is not ‘repairable’.”

In nine months of Yellow Vests demonstrations, the tally is 11 dead (most in road accidents), according to Liberation, and more than 4,100 wounded according to Mediapart (adding protesters and police).

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