Police in Paris fined a French couple on Saturday for wearing clothing supporting the Citizen Initiated Referendum (RIC) policy advocated by the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement.
The pair, Jérôme and Béatrice, were given the fine while near the Arc de Triomphe because one of them was wearing a jumper saying, “Yes to the RIC, I say yes to the citizen-initiated referendum,” Le Figaro reports.
Police told the couple that protest was banned in the area and that the article of clothing constituted a violation of the protest ban. Police then handed them both a 135 euro fine, which neither have paid so far.
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“It’s an abuse of power,” said Jérôme and added, “We no longer have the right to express ourselves in France.” His partner Béatrice said, “We were not going to demonstrate on the Champs-Elysées, we went to the métro, but they did not want to hear it. We even proposed to remove our sweater but they refused.”
The couple says they will continue to refuse to pay the fine and that they have contacted a lawyer to look into the case.
The RIC policy is one of the main pillars of the Yellow Vest movement which saw its 19th straight week of protest on Saturday.
Under the RIC, the public would be allowed to enact laws without the French national assembly, as well as hold referendums to repeal laws.
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Some have even suggested using RICs to remove unpopular politicians from office and even bring amendments to the French constitution itself.
A poll taken in January showed a massive 80 per cent of French supported the RIC proposal with most of the supporters coming from the populist National Rally led by Marine Le Pen and the far-left Unsubmissive France led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
In a poll released last week, both supporters of Le Pen and Mélenchon were the most prevalent in backing the idea that a full-on revolution could be a legitimate way to affect social change in France.