PARIS (Reuters) – A decision by a small group of “yellow vest” protesters to contest May’s European Parliament elections has exposed deep splits within their amorphous anti-government movement about whether and how to become a more organized political force.
Yet though they have so far drawn up a list of only 10 candidates, they could prove a disruptive force, with one opinion poll this week suggesting they could steal votes from the far-right and inadvertently help President Emmanuel Macron, whose policies triggered their original protests.
Activists - Movement - Ingrid - Levavasseur - Grouping
Accused by some activists of betraying the movement, Ingrid Levavasseur, who leads the new grouping’s candidate list, said on Friday she sought change through political dialogue, and she distanced herself from the movement’s violent fringe.
“We want to bring democratic debate (to French politics),” the 31-year-old assistant nurse told RMC radio. “We don’t all want to overthrow the president.”
Vests - High-visibility - Vests - Drivers - Cars
The yellow vests, named after high-visibility vests French drivers are required to keep in their cars, began their protests in November against fuel tax hikes that Macron then scrapped.
They quickly spiraled into a broader movement against the political elite and inequality, triggering some of the capital’s worst street violence in decades.
Movement - Split - Faultlines - Radicals - Macron
But the movement is leaderless and split along open faultlines: between radicals who want to oust Macron and moderates who back dialogue, and between those who wish it to remain a grassroots, apolitical movement and those who see an opportunity to break into politics.
“NO POLITICAL CONVICTIONS”
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