Last updated on 28th July 2019
On Saturday, March 30th, during Act 20 of the Yellow Vests, many mobilisations were held everywhere in France despite there being certain prohibitions on demonstrating. Violent scenes of repression broke out once again, illustrating the course taken in repression that is now more “offensive”.
Thus, in Besançon, after a charge, as is seen in the video, a Yellow Vest is isolated, a CRS officer walks towards him and hits him violently on the head with a baton, in front of the eyes of colleagues, who show no reaction. Stunned and bleeding profusely, he is assisted by street medics. Witnesses of the scene call the police, without success. During this time the repression continues, resuming with the release of a tear gas grenade.
In the same evening of Act 20, a video of “Media 25” circulated showing the scene:
Scène d’une violence inouïe ou l’on voit un policier frapper avec sa matraque, à la tête, un manifestant #GiletJaune qui semble pacifiste lors de l’#acte20 des Gilets Jaunes à #Besançon – #acteXX | Reportage complet dans la soirée | Images @emma_audrey_fr pic.twitter.com/MXsqvvsS22— Média 25 (@m25_fr) March 30, 2019
Emma Audrey, the author of the video, testifies on Twitter:
J’ai littéralement eu un frisson froid dans le dos quand j’ai vu la scène se dérouler à 1 mètre de moi. J’ai vraiment cru que le jeune allait perdre conscience tellement il a été frappé avec haine et force. Ensuite je l’ai suivi, pas vraiment pour le filmer mais parce que -2/9— Emma Audrey (@emma_audrey_fr) March 31, 2019
“I wanted to talk quickly about my feelings after the aggression against the young (peaceful) Yellow Vest committed by a police officer yesterday during Act 20 in Besançon. I’ve lived a lot of things since I was a field journalist but that really shocked me. I literally had a cold shiver down my back when I saw the scene unfold 1 meter away from me. I really thought that the young man was going to lose consciousness, since he was struck with so much hatred and strength. Then I followed him, not really to film him but because…”
Since then, the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) has been notified, as was reported by the prefect of Doubs on April 1st.
Since the beginning of the movement, these images of violence have continued to multiply, vividly showing the government’s attempt to respond to a deep political crisis via the ever more aggressive intervention of the police. But following act 18, we saw a jump in the level of repression. Thus, from Act 19 we could hear police unionists on the TV insisting on this change of attitude: “we did not simply lie down”; “it makes me proud to see the protesters fleeing”.