“Was our action decisive? »Two years later, the figures of a roundabout in Avignon still revolted

This photo was taken on December 30 near Avignon by an amateur photographer who documents the “yellow vests” movement. – Jinhua Chabert

  • At the beginning of 2019, a photo of Kim Hoa Chabert, an amateur photographer from Avignon, goes viral. We see a couple of “yellow vests” entwined.
  • Two years after the start of the movement, the photographer, the man whose embrace was immortalized and the “yellow vests” of this Avignon roundabout confided to 20 Minutes their memories of the movement and their results.

A bittersweet feeling. Two years after the start of the “yellow vests” movement, Pierre * remembers “a great moment of solidarity”, but wonders: “Was our action really decisive? I don’t really know how to answer. “

The photo of this retired civil servant taking a moment of rest with his partner on a roundabout in Avignon had moved the Internet at the beginning of 2019. We were then a few days after a speech by Emmanuel Macron during which the President of the Republic had referred to a “hateful crowd” to qualify the movement after the violence that marked the Parisian demonstrations in December. Pierre then confided to 20 Minutes to mobilize for “elementary rights” which were “called into question”.

“I lived a life of activism but I had never known, as during this movement of” yellow vests “, such a fraternity, he confides, with hindsight, to 20 Minutes. We met there, as part of a small family. “The retiree began to mobilize a little more than a month after the start of the movement, at the end of 2018.” By my presence, I ensured a little permanence on the roundabout when my employee colleagues could not come. . “

“Everyone has dissipated a bit”

The first confinement was “the coup de grace” of the mobilization, he believes. “We can regret that this great movement of solidarity has died out a bit. Everyone has dissipated a bit, I deeply regret that. However, the period of confinement “further deepened the suffering of the people who were the worst off,” he said.

Mobilized from November 17, 2018, Kim Hoa Chabert, the author of the photo, is one of the memories of the mobilization of “yellow vests” in Avignon. She continues to photograph and film the latter which are, however, much less numerous than two years ago. She regrets the “criticisms” of “people behind their computers” who “do not come to see the brotherhood, the smile”. “We want life to be better”, she sums up.

“It was a surprise that there were a lot of people”

A goal shared by Georges Tralongo and Yvan Roux, also “yellow vests” from the start on this Realpanier roundabout. “What pushed me at the time was a small revolt. We forget the most disadvantaged, the nursing staff, retirees, that people who work at the minimum wage cannot find accommodation while gasoline is increasing, ”says Yvan Roux, 61 years old.

“It was a surprise that there were a lot of people [le 17 novembre 2018]. It was everywhere in France, adds the territorial agent, who declares himself apolitical. We stayed for almost fifteen months to demonstrate every weekend. It created bonds, friendship. The world is becoming selfish, it feels good to be in solidarity. “

He no longer goes to the roundabout, but “his heart remains yellow”. He regrets the “mess” that has punctuated the moblization: “This movement was spontaneous. Everyone has gravity, there have been a lot of ego wars… I am not in that state of mind. If we had managed to coordinate, we would have had more weight. “

He also denounces violence on the part of the police, who have distanced the demonstrators from the movement, according to him. “We have always demonstrated peacefully, we took beatings. The movement lost its power because of that, it scared people. “

Georges Tralango, he always wears his yellow vest. As soon as he can, he goes on Saturday afternoon to the roundabout. “Contrary to what people think, we’re still here! “He participated in a few meetings of” yellow vests “after the breathlessness of the mobilization on the roundabouts.

For this retiree, small craftsman, the future of the movement is “badly blocked” for the moment. “It’s not our fault because we are prevented from going out. And when you put on a “yellow vest”, you get hit on it. “But he remains confident:” The movement was so strong, I do not think that the State manages to muzzle us completely. “

* The first name has been changed.

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