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French Press Review – February 11th


Mohamed Zerari

Mon, 11 Feb 2019 17:08 GMT

"Yellow vests", Tomi Ungerer's death, deadly fire in Lyon ... the five news of the weekend

Le Monde sheds light on some statistics regarding the “Yellow vests” movement. There were 51,400 people demonstrating in France, including 4,000 in Paris, on Saturday, February 9th, for act XIII of the "yellow vests" movement. A decrease from the previous week, when there were 58,600, including 10,500 in the capital, according to the Ministry of the Interior. This figure is contested by the "yellow vests": According to their count, on February 9th, the "yellow number" was more than 111, 000 demonstrators in France.

In Paris, at midday, near the National Assembly, tensions erupted resulting in one demonstrator suffering from a torn hand. In Toulouse, three photographers who covered the demonstration claim to have been "deliberately" targeted by the police. One of them sustained a thigh injury from an exploding grenade.

The “big debate”, a disguised election campaign, according to the opposition

The “Big Debate” resurfaces in Le Figaro. Emmanuel Macron's dominance of the air waves irritates his opponents to a high degree. Macron commands the big debate using LREM's speaking time to pressure for the European campaign.

In front of their TV sets, opposition leaders remain dumbfounded. Whether on BFMTV, LCI, CNews, the same scene is being repeated week after week. A president, standing in his shirt-sleeves, unravelling his programme for several hours, explaining reforms and giving perspectives. Entire broadcasts on the news channels are devoted to this. The Élysée might like to see this as ensuring that the head of state looks as though he is in situ and fully involved in the great national debate, however, the opposition sees it from another angle.

Guillaume Klossa: "Europeans must prepare for a hard Brexit"

Le Parisien newspaper talks about the founder of EuropaNova, Guillaume Klossa, calling for the establishment of a "Brexit solidarity fund" because of the likelihood of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

"Has the time come to prepare for the hypothesis of a departure from the United Kingdom without agreement and to endow us with the means of European solidarity? How? By creating a European Brexit amortisation fund that protects the citizens of the European Union from the consequences of a ‘no deal’. One after the other, the doors of a soft Brexit are closed, while a Brexit without agreement becomes possible, the British political class being so divided that it agrees on almost nothing positive,” said Mr. Guillaume.

In Spain, right and extreme right parade together against the government and Catalan independence

Fearing that Pedro Sanchez's government would negotiate the approval of its budget with the separatists against a new referendum, the Liberation newspaper keeps an eye on the right-wing and far-right parties, who reject the very principle of mediation.

Between patriotic songs of the type "Que viva España!", frequently heard in football stadiums when the national team are playing, there are thousands chanting this simple word in loop: "Resign, Resign!". This, of course, refers to the head of the socialist government, Pedro Sanchez, who has been asked by some socialist leaders to kneel before the Catalan secessionists and, thus, to lend the credence to a partition of the country.