by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog
During the near 8 months (at the time of writing) that the French Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) have been demonstrating nationwide I have written two articles (part 1 is here, part 2 is here) based on my own primary research that aimed to offer an insight into what is actually going on, since the mainstream, neoliberal media is either deliberately boycotting the topic or mentions it very briefly and in a heavily biased (pro-Macron) way. Part 3 in this series is on the way - I will publish it after July 14th (Bastille Day), but in this article I want to talk about a serious incident that happened during Act 34 (July 6th) in Paris - an incident that, of course, the French government and Brussels will try to hush up as much as possible.
Let's start the timeline at 18:00 in the evening. The Yellow Vests have just completed their 9km - from Place de la République to Place de Catalogne -sanctioned demonstration (my videos and photos can be found here). They then travel by metro back to Place de la République (hereon in - PdlR) for a sanctioned evening gathering. At this time some feminist protest is already ongoing, and CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité) start to become nervous that the arriving Yellow Vests, being the "terrorists" that the mainstream media portrays them to be, might disrupt proceedings.
There is another reason why CRS are nervous: it should be noted that the few yellow vests that can be seen in the video above have nothing to do with the actual Yellow Vests movement. They, in fact, are the groupies of a Macron collaborator named Sophie Tissier, who deliberately registers a "Gilets Jaunes" protest with the police prefecture for every Saturday for the purpose of dividing the movement and preventing the formation of one large column. She espouses liberal values (as can be seen in the video above; she is the shaven-headed woman holding a sign saying "Anti-patriarchy") and as a result is booed and jeered by the actual Yellow Vests every time she's spotted. Thankfully, her joke gatherings now only attract 20 naïve individuals at most. However, that is 20 unhappy citizens who could, and should, be a part of the main Yellow Vests column, so in this sense Tissier can still declare a victory. Also present at this event is Muriel Robin - an ultra-liberal pro-Macron French personality. Inevitably, she enters into a verbal skirmish with an actual Yellow Vest (take note of the presence of men wearing baseballs caps and sunglasses):
After around 10 minutes, the feminist event starts to come to an end, but amongst the Yellow Vests a shout of "medic" can be heard. Two "street medics" (Yellow Vests who have some first aid skills) respond to the call and start to head towards the northern corner of the square. The earliest footage of the scene (the videos below this paragraph) shows this same Yellow Vest (named Wesson) - enraged and with a bleeding mouth - explaining to the independent journalist Amar Taoualit that a police officer wearing civilian clothes, possibly from the Brigade anti-criminalité, without any identification insignia, has just punched him without any motive. At this moment all the Yellow Vests start to head towards the crime scene, which is surrounded by gendarmes, and learn very quickly that a cop has committed another unprovoked act of aggression against a Yellow Vest. A barrage of insults is launched towards a circle of gendarmes who are stood on the corner of the square seemingly protecting someone.
Here are screenshots from the first of the two videos above showing the person who the gendarmes are protecting, even going as far as trying to obstruct the view of the camera:
After 5 or so minutes these same gendarmes start to head southward down the square, but in a very agitated way. The Yellow Vests follow them:
In the video above we can see on the left-hand side the same circle of gendarmes walking with the same mysterious person in civilian clothes. Here is a better angle:
After reaching the Southern end of the square, the gendarmes form a line, and the Yellow Vests hurl insults at them. Wesson, the Yellow Vest who was assaulted, talks to other Yellow Vests and explains what happened to a crowd (3:24 onwards in the video below). Suddenly there is a shout "it's them!" - attention is focused on three persons dressed in civilian clothes. The Yellow Vests start to pursue them, and the latter flee towards the police column on the Eastern side of the square, where an unmarked police car awaits them. One of the men enters the unmarked car, but not without Wesson giving him some abuse before he flees, and the other two hide behind gendarmes. The Yellow Vests try to approach the two other mysterious men but are prevented by the gendarmes. About 4 CRS vans arrive to the Northern part of the square and gendarmes push the Yellow Vests backwards, away from the two men. In the ensuing chaos Wesson suddenly goes to the floor. "Street medics" attend to him whilst the anger starts to mount. Prominent Yellow Vest Faouzi Lellouche explains (at 35:09 onwards) that inside the unmarked police car he saw that there were already other cops wearing balaclavas inside. The following video shows everything I described in this paragraph (the pursuit begins at 6:24):
After around 15 minutes, Wesson is taken to the accident & emergency department of the local hospital, and the gendarmes re-enter their vans and disappear - they obviously understood that hanging around any longer wasn't a good idea and would inevitably result in clashes. And that's how things ended, with the Parisian Yellow Vests quite shocked at what happened.
At around 9pm Wesson starts a Facebook live broadcast from outside the hospital, where he waiting for his turn to be treated. His mouth is visibly inflated and he says that he is sore, and that he doesn't know if any of his teeth are broken but they hurt nevertheless. However, one hour later Wesson will delete his Facebook video due to a desire to make another one the following day that is much more precise vis-à-vis what happened on July 6th, since wild speculation had started to spread on social networks.
Here is a summary of his testimony video:
- In the presence of Muriel Robin, Wesson asked a journalist why they don't report about police violence against female Yellow Vests. After a brief discussion (which can be seen in the video towards the top of this article), Wesson left;
- Wesson then departed towards the "Franprix" shop to buy a drink. A guy in civilian clothes squared up to him and offered to have a fight. A surprised Wesson accepted, after which he was punched in the face by the reinforced-glove-wearing man in civilian clothes.
- He doesn't know for sure if the guy in civilian clothes was a police officer or whether he is some bodyguard. Wesson says that the aggressor presented some kind of ID card to the cops who arrived at the scene and was thus recognised as being a friendly. An unmarked police car with balaclava-wearing men inside came to collect the civilian-clothes-wearing men in any case.
- He fell to the floor because he had an epileptic episode.
- A complaint will be filed with the police on July 8th.
- He says that other Yellow Vests who witnessed the incident have given the same testimony on camera (I myself listened to two people who were present during the attack explain what happened, and they both affirmed the same thing - Wesson was attacked by the guy in the navy blue "NY" hat).
Those who are familiar with the scandals surrounding Emmanuel Macron will be familiar with the Benalla affair - when a police officer that is very close to Macron violated the law and beat up a May Day protestor - and may draw parallels with the incident described in this article.
In truth, I would argue that the attack on Wesson is worse since it was not in the framework of anything even resembling a police operation. However, there are still open questions, such as: why are the same guys in civilian clothes who the gendarmes protect after the attack also seen in the Muriel Robin video, seemingly acting as her security?
Example A-1 (look at the guy on the left in the blue hat)
Example A-2 (look at the guy on the left in the blue hat)
Example B-1 (look at the guy in the middle in plainclothes)
Example B-2 (look at the guy on the right in the baseball cap, with his back turned to the camera)
It's a categorical fact that the two plainclothes guys seen in these photos are the same ones who were fulfilling some kind of security role for Muriel Robin and who were exfiltrated from PldR by the gendarmes. In the Muriel Robin video she is seen speaking to the guy in the darker blue baseball cap and pointing to Wesson. Some have claimed that over a good speaker system she can be heard saying "Virer le gilet jaune" (sort out the yellow vest), but I cannot confirm this since at the time of writing I don't have access to such technology. In any case, it all looks very suspicious: Wesson was attacked within 10 minutes of his verbal spar with Muriel Robin.
However, it's difficult to prove that Muriel Robin is responsible for the attack. What's most important is that someone who looks and behaves like a plainclothes police or high-security officer (and recognised as such by overt gendarmes) attacked a civilian and is given an escort by gendarmes, and even evacuated by an unmarked police car with men wearing balaclavas inside.
Naturally, there is absolutely nothing about this incident in the French press. I stress: absolutely nothing. In fact, if one just relies on the usual mainstream propagandists for "information", then apparently the Yellow Vests don't even exist anymore. I remember very well how they were howling about Christophe Dettinger - who defended a woman (according to her own testimony) against police aggression - and presented him as a terrorist.
Of course, they deliberately omitted to highlight what happened before he repelled the cops - the police gassed Dettinger in the face and recklessly threw grenades into the crowd.
Concerning the Benalla case, he is still a free man and has incurred zero punishment. There is a fake "investigation" that Macron will probably drag out for as long as is needed, but nobody with any experience living under a neoliberal regime expects there to be any kind of justice.
Christophe Dettinger? He was given a 1-year jail sentence within the same month he was detained, the online fundraiser launched in his name was halted and the funds frozen, and the regime launched a police fundraiser as a weapon of psychological warfare against the Yellow Vests. Not to mention the fates of the hundreds of Yellow Vests who have been arbitrarily jailed just for the fact that they dared to resist against Macron's socio-economic genocide, and the dozens of Yellow Vests who protested peacefully but were mutilated by the police and denied of any livelihood. No, there is no justice for them, because as we should know by now: there is one rule for us, and another for them. You didn't pay your tax? Go to jail! Meanwhile, the regime's offshore accounts continue to fatten up at he expense of the already impoverished poor.
July 6th 2019 - the day a plainclothes law enforcement employee - not wearing any identification number, or any insignia at all in fact, which is a violation of the law - assaulted a Yellow Vest, and uniformed law enforcement - also not wearing any identification numbers, which is also a violation of the law - protected the assailant. I think even the Milice Française would blush at such a level of impunity.