Gilets jaunes in Occitanie on Saturday

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Gilets jaunes in Act 17 in Montpellier

Act 17 of the gilets jaunes protests took place on Saturday.   There were reports of violence in Montpellier and Toulouse.

17 arrested in Montpellier

In Montpellier there were between 2,000 and 2,500 people who took part in the demonstrations.

The procession started at the Place de la Comédie, and there were a dozen CRS officers waiting.  The demonstrators saw their presence as a provocation.  The route took them to the prefecture, the Corum, the Antigone district and back to the Place de la Comédie.

Towards the end of the afternoon there were violent clashes between protesters and police.  Fires were started, and street lights were broken.  17 people were arrested for protesting with a concealed face.

“it’s a massive strain on the police”

Protesters threw projectiles and balloons filled with excrement at the police.

Four police officers were injured, the number of gilets jaunes injured has not been reported.

“We find it unacceptable that the gathering of gilets jaunes every Saturday is an opportunity for the rioters to commit acts of unheard-of violence against the forces involved, notably by throwing Molotov cocktails and firing rocket fireworks – it’s a massive strain on the police” lamented Joseph Galera, secrétaire départemental adjoint Alliance 34.

Perpignan ‘carnival’

Conversely, the gathering in Perpignan was held in a good-natured atmosphere.

250 protesters marched through the centre, some were in carnival disguise.  But even under a festive appearance, some remain pessimistic on the outcome of the next big national debate. “The government has already said many times that it will not change course so the big debate will not produce much,” said one of the protesters.

Toulouse water cannons

Gilets jaunes in Toulouse

In Toulouse there were several thousand protesters.  Four police officers were slightly injured and nine people were arrested.

The protesters marched from la place Jeanne-d’Arc, towards le Cours Alsace-Lorraine, place du Capitole, rue de Metz and then boulevard Carnot.

At around 5:30 police used water cannons and tear gas to break up the protest.