“They attacked the Pitié-Salpetrière hospital…” declared Christophe Castaner, the interior minister. That was on May 1st, after some demonstrators sought refuge on this Paris hospital grounds to escape from police attacks and tear gas flooding the neighbouring streets.
Targeting the demonstrators
Despite the stupidity of such a lie, contradicted by all witness accounts within hours following the minister’s statement, the government still keeps denouncing a “violent intrusion”. This claim aims at setting the public against the demonstrators, while the “enlightening videos” cited in support of this claim by Martin Hirsch, the head of Paris hospitals, showed disarmed demonstrators pursued by cops on motorbikes and beaten from the street to the bottom of the hospital.
Who is destroying hospitals?
While Agnes Buzyn, health minister, said a public hospital should be treated as a “sanctuary,” she is the one mistreating hospitals. Closures of hospitals or hospital departments have increased for years, constantly degrading the quality of healthcare. So much so that one patient died last December in the emergency department of Paris Lariboisière hospital, which is chronically understaffed.
Emergency personnel rightly denounce this situation and have started a strike since mid-April in many hospitals across France, which the minister chooses to ignore… and even asked for the strikers’ posters to be removed before appearing on camera to condemn imaginary attacks!
The yellow jackets’ determination
So last Saturday the yellow jackets, who allegedly are targeting hospitals, organised a demonstrations going around Paris hospitals and asking for “money for public hospitals”. They were warmly welcomed by hospital staff from their windows, while the entrances were closed down by frightened hospital directors.
And yes, demonstrations are still going on. The government comforts itself every Saturday by pointing out that the mobilisation is weakening. That is to be expected after six months of constant mobilisation… and increasing repression. But despite thousands of convictions and injuries, and tens of mutilated demonstrators, the yellow jacket movement keeps on going, and organising. And importantly it now occupies a central spot in France, creating an opening through which all those against Macron’s pro-boss policy could join.
The “yellow jacket” bonus, paid with great hurry in December, like the recent promise to lower income tax, are proofs that the strength of the movement is jostling our rulers. And the May 1st demonstration was by far the most numerous in years, the most dynamic, thanks to the yellow jackets partaking.
But despite these marginal concessions, Macron relentlessly continues his pro-rich policy. His small announcements to close the “great debate” clearly show that he plans to “stay on course” (increase the number of years of contributions to retire, lower tax on corporate profits, decrease public spending…). Add to this some statements inspired by foul-smelling far-right ideas on immigration and Islam.
Most yellow jackets distinguish the false promises from the true threats. We should not be fooled either. It is high time we all joined together, in the streets and on strike.