Five races on the Chantilly card had to be postponed Saturday afternoon when a group of around 1,000 ‘gilets jaunes’ or yellow-vest demonstrators swarmed the track at Chantilly.
The yellow-vest movement began as a populist movement for economic reform in France, and began regular civil disobedience in mid-November in protest of President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed gas-tax hikes. The group began Saturday’s demonstration in the town of Chantilly, walking through the town gates and past the city hall before heading onto the racecourse. Shopkeepers lowered the gates on their windows as they passed. The news outlet Oise Hebdo captured the procession on video here.
The Jour de Galop reported that they left after blocking the course for around three hours and after several rounds of tear gas were fired at them, and without serious incident. Four races were held before darkness made further racing impossible, and five will be rescheduled for Sunday.
The protests, now in their ninth weekend, were part of a larger demonstration held in several cities in France on Saturday, where it was estimated that 32,000 protestors turned out, and were met by 80,000 police officers nationwide. In Paris, they were dispersed by tear gas and water cannons.