A 28-year-old Frenchman has been sentenced to six months in jail after he published a Facebook post attempting to organize a ‘Yellow Vest’ blockade of a local petrol refinery, according to local reports.
Hedi Martin was arrested in Port-La Nouvelle, southern France on January 3, shortly after publishing the post on Facebook, la Dépêche reports. In his post, Martin called for a ‘Yellow Vest’ blockade of the petrol refinery in the coastal town, urging people to “stand up to the CRS [riot police],” according to WSWS.
State prosecutors noted video footage of Martin on his Facebook page at several Yellow Vest protests in the region, and criticized him for allegedly resigning from his short-term contract at a chocolate factory to “spend between four and seven hours every day” demonstrating.
The state prosecutor had reportedly sought a harsher penalty of two years imprisonment and a three-year protesting ban. However, the fact that Martin had not actually committed any violent acts, but rather “participated in a violent movement,” saw his sentence significantly reduced.
The arrest and sentencing come on the heels of French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to crack down on the surge of protests and violent riots, which have now rolled into their ninth week, spreading across the country from the capital.
The movement began in mid-November over increasing fuel prices, but has since grown to encompass an overall dissatisfaction with Macron’s policies. The administration did suspend fuel tax hikes in light of the protests, and Macron pledged to raise the minimum wage, but refused to reinstate a tax on the wealthy.
The rallies were marred by chaotic clashes with police, and at least 10 people have died in connection with the Yellow Vest protests in France. More than a thousand have been detained by police.
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