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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/16/19

The Yellow Vest Hospital Hoax: I Reported Live From the Scene as It Happened

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The French government has been forced to shamefully admit that they made false accusations that May Day Yellow Vest protesters tried to break into a hospital in order to "attack", "assault" and "steal."

Vive la France
Vive la France
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The French government has been forced to shamefully admit that they made totally false accusations that May Day Yellow Vest anti-government protesters tried to break into the Pitie' Salpêtrière Hospital in order to "attack", "assault" and "steal". Countless mainstream media are just as covered in ignominy for having repeated these untrue claims.

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I was right there when it happened, covering it for PressTV, so I witnessed exactly what transpired.

In fact, I even gave a live interview at the exact time of the incident, just after 4pm. I don't have a copy of that for now, but I hope to get one soon: certainly, I can explain what happened and why.

Why it happened: A new rule permitting even worse police brutality against Yellow Vests

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May 1st was the debut of a new policing tactic: cops can initiate violence against peaceful protesters.

It is just that objectively simple, openly discussed, and easy to explain:

Cops are now using the age-old method of "divide and conquer"" on peaceful protesters. On May 1st a line of riot cops repeatedly charged the demonstrators in order to sever them into two, more manageable sections. One section of the protest is forced to advance, while the other section is forced to wait behind.

Of course, police are not watching their elbows and politely saying, "Excuse me" - the only way to stop peaceful demonstrators from moving is to violently get in their way and then violently bar them from advancing one more step. That is "initiating violence", and they didn't used to do that with the regularity we saw on May 1.

The cops did this at the start of the demonstration at 2pm, and to achieve their goal of cutting the demo into two sides they gassed about 5-8,000 people. I was doing a live interview at that time as well (I don't have a copy of that one, but I do have others from that day, read on for the link!). It was so violent and so shocking - tear gas forcing thousands of people to flee - that I had to talk (yell) for 20+ minutes live, giving myself a temporary headache. We almost had to turn and run, but we stood our ground: I take no credit, of course, but when cops advanced as far as journalists reporting live they finally relented and let the demonstration proceed, as they had set up an unprecedented, shockingly-narrow, cop-filled corridor tens of thousands of people had to slowly pass through. Happy International Workers' Day!

Back to 4pm: the cops again cut the demonstration, and they did so right in front of the hospital. So, firstly, if anyone is at fault for putting the hospital in the line of fire it is the riot cops because they chose to re-initiate violence at that particular spot.

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Why that spot? Because Boulevard de l'Hôpital was the final straightaway until the end of the protest - the roundabout Place d'Italie: the government's new tactic also meant they wanted to allow the first group of protesters (the most hardcore) to enter Place d'Italie all alone" so they could be gassed, attacked and cleared out before for the next section of protesters arrived. Gas, attack and clear out; gas, attack and clear out Place d'Italie - this happened three times (in my estimation, but I was only there for numbers 2 and 3). This is the result of the new, so called "more offensive" police tactics.

Why do that? Because the government did not want the protest - 40,000 strong - to finish together, in celebration. The government was threatened by this large gathering, so they simply did not allow it to happen.

This explains why when I finally got to Place d'Italie it was a bizarre, desolate, damaged ghost town. Construction barricades had been toppled and damaged, along with advertisements and bus stops, there was garbage, glass and tear gas canisters everywhere" yet no people. Just an empty Place d'Italie, surrounded by cops at all eight exits.

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Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has (more...)
 

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