Benjamin Griveaux: "Some elements want to overthrow the power"


"I pray for Saturday," confesses a faithful of the President of the Republic. Museums and Eiffel Tower closed, modified Telethon program, football matches postponed, Christmas events canceled: life will be suspended this Saturday in France, and especially in Paris, for "Act IV" of the mobilization of yellow vests. This appointment under high tension raises the deepest concerns at the top of the state.

The government announced that the policing system would be reviewed, with 89,000 police and gendarmes, including 8,000 in Paris, supported by "a dozen" armored gendarmerie to protect buildings or clear barricades. The picture appears even darker as anger spreads in high schools and even colleges.

Faced with this security challenge, the government is making a deliberately alarmist speech. Unseen situation, the Elysee goes to ensure that some will come "to break and kill." Beyond the legitimate fears in the face of the violence that is multiplying everywhere in France, the government puts, by his words, on a strategy of tension? In Paris, Benjamin Griveaux defends himself, giving as advice not to go to Paris.

At the Élysée, it is said that some demonstrators come to Paris with the intention of "breaking and killing". What are you basing on to make such a speech?

BENJAMIN GRIVEAUX. First of all, what happened last Saturday in Paris. People came with iron bars, hammers, axes, and even, as a result of looting, a chainsaw. When we have this type of equipment, we do not come to protest. We come to break, burn, loot, strike with the will to kill public order.

Justice did not retain such qualifications …

You talk about the 378 people in custody. Investigations are ongoing on other facts.

Do intelligence agencies fear the presence of firearms?

Yes, we know that such weapons can circulate. Since the beginning of these events, we deplore four dead and hundreds wounded, including high school students. True Yellow Vests can not serve as human shields. Those who are in these demonstrations will not allow the police to proceed to the arrests. We therefore appeal to everyone's responsibility.

… that is, not to go to Paris?

That's the advice I would give.

Did you review the device after the failure of policing last week?

Our forces have suffered, they have been courageous, they have put an end to violence and disorder. The number one goal remains to preserve human lives. We will have more forces and more mobile so that the breakers do not have time to intervene.

VIDEO. How the government wants to avoid the worst Saturday

More mobility means more contact, so more risk …

At violent attacks, there will be a proportionate and determined response. I also call for the responsibility of television on the broadcasting of live images in order not to give the position of the police.

The meeting points are concentrated around the Élysée. Do you see a strategy?

Obviously it's organized. Politicized and radicalized elements try to exploit the movement. They want to overthrow the power.

Would it be there if you had taken the measure of the movement earlier?

I'm afraid the anger does not date from three weeks ago.

Do not you regret having hammered: "We stay the course"? This helped to stretch the situation …

We have made a mistake in the way in which this increase in ecological taxation has been experienced, in a context where the government's own policy is to lower taxes. Doubtless we had misjudged both the fiscal sluggishness and the feeling of abandonment in some territories.

Many see you as arrogant …

Words hurt. We are perfectly aware of it.

Marlène Schiappa, and you in the wake, mentioned Wednesday morning the possibility of returning, after review, the reform of the ISF. Is the government won by the excitement?

No. And that's not what I said. I simply recalled, word for word, the text voted a year ago. It is normal that we want to evaluate what we do.

Why did you talk about "suspension" and then "cancellation" of the increase in fuel taxes?

The good word is "cancellation". And this is the one the French must remember: there will be no increase in taxes on January 1st.

VIDEO. Philippe suspends higher fuel taxes

Is this the sign of a disagreement between Matignon and the Élysée?

Those who spread this kind of rumor today are not up to the historical moment that we are living.

In such a moment, it is important to know if the executive couple is strong enough and welded …

The answer is obviously yes. And this has been reflected in Parliament. The Prime Minister had on Wednesday a clear and massive support from the majority. Not one voice has failed.

Will you be able to continue to reform with this government team?

This team is proven from the first day, because there is a very strong expectation of the country. We knew it would be difficult.

Why does the president remain silent?

He should speak soon.


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