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1-min read

UK Protesters Join France's 'Yellow Vest' Bandwagon

The left-wing "People's Assembly" activist group has invited thousands of people to wear yellow vests at an anti-austerity "Britain is broken" march in central London Saturday.

AFP

Updated:January 9, 2019, 11:58 PM IST
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UK Protesters Join France's 'Yellow Vest' Bandwagon
The "yellow vest" demonstrations — named after the high-visibility jackets worn by the protesters — began in rural France in November 2018 over increased fuel taxes. (Reuters Image)
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London: Rival demonstrations are planned in Britain this weekend as groups from opposite ends of the political spectrum try to emulate the "yellow vest" protest movement that has recently swept France.

The left-wing "People's Assembly" activist group has invited thousands of people to wear yellow vests at an anti-austerity "Britain is broken" march in central London Saturday.

"See you on the streets and don't forget your #YellowVests," the group — which is demanding a general election to end the ruling Conservatives' programme of austerity — wrote on its Facebook page.

The event is also hosted by other liberal organisations targeting different causes, including "Stand Up To Racism" which is protesting government policies towards refugees.

Meanwhile right-wing, Brexit-supporting activists have signalled their intent to hold demonstrations in British cities, including the capital, under the banner "#YellowVestUK".

Anti-European Union protesters wearing yellow vests, some emblazoned with Britain's Union Jack flag, have staged several small protests disrupting traffic in London in recent months.

A group sparked a firestorm this week by assailing pro-EU figures in Westminster on Monday, which included chanting "Nazi" at prominent Remain supporting MP Anna Soubry during live TV interviews.

They also then harangued her and political commentators outside parliament, prompting calls for more proactive policing of the activists.

Police have vowed to uphold any public order offences and intervene when appropriate in response to the controversy.

France's "yellow vest" demonstrations began in mid-November over a proposed increase in fuel duties, and soon turned violent.

The leaderless movement appeared to be petering out at the end of 2018 but has since regained momentum, with weekly clashes seen in Paris and other French cities.

Meanwhile Britain is in the midst of political turmoil as the clock ticks down on its planned withdrawal from the European Union on March 29.

More than two years after voting to leave the bloc, the country and its lawmakers remain bitterly divided over Brexit.

MPs are set to vote next Tuesday on Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal negotiated with Brussels amid staunch

opposition to the plan.

She has warned defeat in the House of Commons could throw the country into "uncharted territory" with no clear path forward governing how Brexit will unfold

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