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For France’s Yellow Vest protesters, the fight goes on

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On November 17, 2018, French men and women gathered for the first time on the capital’s iconic Champs-Élysées and at hundreds of roundabouts across France to protest the high cost of living. They were easily identified by their yellow high-visibility vests. The months-long demonstrations against the government of President Emmanuel Macron turned violent and were dealt with harshly by security forces. Nearly four years later, those who took part in the movement tell FRANCE 24 reporters how the struggle changed their lives.

Prisicilla, a member of the Yellow Vest movement from the beginning, now wants to go into politics.
Prisicilla, a member of the Yellow Vest movement from the beginning, now wants to go into politics. © FRANCE 24 / Julia Guggenheim

Priscillia Ludosky (above) has been a yellow vest from day one. She now participates in a program created by personalities from the non-profit world, the Academy of Future Leaders. The goal is to train politically to eventually stand for election. Prisicillia, who has long hesitated to go into politics because she doesn’t trust “the institutions or the system”, now feels there is no other way to get there. She believes that more and more yellow vests share her view, exhausted by the “lack of political response” they come to protest every Saturday.

Alexandre Barot (below) also took part in most of the “Acts” – the name given to the Yellow Vest protests, both in Paris and across the country. Convinced of the need to use force to make himself heard, he was one of those dubbed “the thugs.” He paid dearly for it, with two three-month stays in prison, one of which was in the correctional chamber.

Despite two stays in prison, Alexandre Barot is still involved with the Yellow Vests.
Despite two stays in prison, Alexandre Barot is still involved with the Yellow Vests. © FRANCE 24 / Julia Guggenheim

Despite his life being turned upside down by the movement, today Alex is still involved with the small community of yellow vests who continue to meet at a roundabout in the Normandy town of Lisieux.

The life of Hedi Barini (below) has also changed completely. On December 1, 2018, while peacefully attending a protest in front of the prefecture of Puy-en-Velay in southern France, he was seriously injured in one eye by a grenade thrown by a gendarme.

Hedi is one of 30 people blinded in one eye by French security forces during the Yellow Vest protests.
Hedi is one of 30 people blinded in one eye by French security forces during the Yellow Vest protests. © FRANCE 24 / Julia Guggenheim

Nearly four years later, he is still recovering from his injury and has become deeply involved in the fight against police brutality. Like most of the 30 people blinded in one eye by French security forces during the Yellow Vest protests, he filed a complaint with police in vain. Hedi is today appealing the dismissal of his case and hopes to finally get official status as a victim of police brutality.

credits

Director: Julia Guggenheim

Camera: Cécile Khindria, Thibault Jeanpierre

Film Editing: Sébastien Eppinger

Senior producer: Olivier Ponthus

Mixing: Plani mechanic – Maxime Scheidecker

Produced by: Yemaya Productions – Lea Sansonetti, Nelly Mabillat

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