Populist French MP Marine Le Pen struck out at President Emmanuel Macron over the weekend, denouncing the government’s heavy-handed tactics against Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protesters.
The National Rally leader appeared in her stronghold of Henin-Beaumont and said that the “mutilations of the demonstrators” were the “indelible mark of Macron’s five-years”, French broadcaster BFMTV reports.
During her speech, Le Pen also spoke out against the political elites in France who she said were deeply dividing the French public. “Should we add to the social fracture, territorial, identity, a psychological divide, that now sees two Frenchmen look at each other with suspicion and even distrust?” she said.
“Hurtful words have passed over the months to hurtful acts. The power and brutality of his programme has struck and worried many. By his methods, he has humiliated, brutalised,” she added.
Speaking of the Yellow Vest protests, Le Pen denounced interior minister Christoph Castaner and said: “We saw tanks in Paris, police armed with machine guns, to face the French. These undemocratic drifts constitute an ethical fault, an unforgivable fault that we do not want to see again.”
The many serious injuries of Yellow Vest protesters have been a major criticism against President Macron, not just from within France but also in the international community.
Doctors Say Number of Serious Injuries Inflicted on Yellow Vests Unprecedented https://t.co/pkM4WI3sNF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 23, 2019
The United Nations came out earlier this year to slam the use of “flashball” ammunition which has been responsible for many of the serious injuries since the weekly demonstrations began last November.
President Macron rejected the international criticism, saying: “The best way to avoid these uses and these cases is to avoid having people who consider that a Saturday afternoon is for smashing windows, institutions, or attacking the police force.”
“I say it very simply, I will not leave the police without any means to ensure public order, or to defend against people who arrive today,” he added.
Doctors in France expressed serious concern over the number of injuries in January, with one emergency room doctor saying he had never seen so many serious injuries during a social movement.
Injuries have included many protesters losing eyes and several losing their hands.