within the weeks for the reason that Coutard published his video, the Yellow Vests have won global attention and shaken France to its center with nation-extensive protests, frequently regarding violent clashes with the police. DW spoke to Coutard, who works as a mechanic and serves as the spokesperson for the Yellow Vests inside the southern city of Narbonne.
DW: How did you provide you with the idea to use the yellow vest as a image?
Ghislain Coutard: It become sincerely simple. I was making my video and i saw the vest that i take advantage of all the time for paintings. I notion to myself: it's fairly seen, we all have one in our automobiles as it's required through regulation. So why now not use it as a kind of shade code. Just to see if human beings need to exit and protest. And bingo! That's exactly what happened.
You've stated you have been stimulated by using Eric Drouet, a truck motive force who referred to as for protests on November 17.
That's right. I've talked to him recently and he said he thinks the yellow vest turned into the very last touch that turned into lacking. So Eric Drouet positioned out the decision and that i came up with the symbol and it took off.
You made that video on the give up of October. Now it's the biggest difficulty in France. Are you surprised by way of what has came about within the previous few weeks?
Yeah, it's crazy to me. I pressure round France for my task, so I forestall everywhere I see the Yellow Vests. I introduce myself and most of the time they apprehend me. It's fantastic. I had a terrific idea, you can say, however I didn't suppose that it might capture on with such a lot of people.
were you stunned by means of the violence in Paris final weekend?
i was greatly surprised, however the media best suggests the photos of the Yellow Vests attacking the authorities. However you can see that the authorities simplest want a small excuse to launch all their tear fuel canisters. That's no longer right. For me, the approaches of the police were a complete failure.
Are you happy with the course the movement is going in?
Why are you continue to organizing if you've already reached that purpose?
It's now not enough. We still should fight the modern taxes, those that have been in region for years. We must have woken up years in the past, and now we must make up for the years we ignored.
What has to happen for the Yellow Vests to be glad?
I suppose the president has to pop out of his hollow and face the French people. No longer with a press launch, but in reality, at the ground. However that will by no means happen, I don't think. He's too eliminated. He's so proud of no longer taking any steps backward. The problem is that he's stubborn and we're stubborn, too. Sooner or later, someone goes to ought to cave, and we're relying on him to do the caving.
The movement has resisted taking aspects politically or being politically inspired. Is there friction among Yellow Vests activists who've one-of-a-kind political reviews?
Yeah, we're sincerely good at false impression every other. We may be without problems divided, to be honest. As an example in Narbonne, the metropolis where I live, there are 3 zones of pastime. We aren’t capable of carry the three together to make one. All and sundry desires to manipulate their personal zone, to do it their way. It's one of the faults of the French: We aren't capable of agree very without problems. That's the main trouble of the Yellow Vests: to return to an settlement and move inside the equal path. However I suppose in a few weeks time, we'll get there.
What are your politics?
Me, I'm now not political at all. I'd want to have the proper to vote at the critical legal guidelines that get exceeded. We don't have a proper to decide on this stuff, simply the right to select a president each five years.
Why did you individually get worried in the purpose of fighting gas taxes?
The fee of gasoline has emerge as incredible compared to the years before. I'm able to live on my salary. But i have masses of buddies whose salaries are a piece much less than mine and they may be barely surviving. The smallest trouble with the auto will become a disaster. You need to cross into debt and then it never ends.
Are you in opposition to Macron's try to improve the environment?
No, definitely we'd all like to drive with smooth strength, but the authorities's plan doesn't get up. That's not how we're going to attain some thing. We are able to't even pay for our cars now, so it's not possible to all purchase electric powered vehicles or hybrids.
What do you observed is the destiny of the movement?
And it's satisfactory to look that people in Belgium, Italy and Germany have taken up the yellow vest as a image, as well. I am hoping it will become an worldwide motion. When we're angry, we put on the yellow vest to expose it.