Lazar Novaković – Act XII: The Yellow Vests Movement

On Saturday, February 2nd 2019, between 10,000 and 13,800 people protested in Paris. In Valence, the downtown shopping district was boarded up; the city had removed trash cans, park benches and protective fencing around trees in preparation. Paving stones had been tarred over to eliminate the risk of their being used as projectiles.The demonstrations of “Act XII” focused on denouncing the number of serious injuries caused by police violence during anti-government demonstrations. According to the French government, around 2,000 civilians were injured in protests between November 2018 and February 2019, including four serious eye injuries.The government agency that investigates police abuses has opened 116 investigations into police conduct during the protests, ten of which concern serious eye injuries suffered by protesters.
Earlier in the week, France’s highest court denied a request to ban police from using “flash balls” or “defensive ball launchers”, known as LBDs, that shoot 40 millimetres (1.6 in) rubber projectiles, which have been blamed for a number of serious injuries.On Saturday, thousands in Paris participated in a “march of the injured” calling for the weapon to be banned.Injured protesters marched at the front, some wearing eye patches with a target sign on them.Jerome Rodrigues, a well-known participant in the movement who lost an eye in the previous week’s demonstrations, was received warmly with applause by the crowds.
In Paris, police used tear gas and water cannons at Place de la Republique in the city centre to force demonstrators back after clashes with protesters, some hooded or masked, and some who set fire to bins and a scooter.

Lazar Novaković is freelance photographer from Kragujevac (Serbia.) His first contact with the world of photography was as a photographer of extreme sports, being an extreme sportsperson himself. From that, he switched to wedding photography, which he has always perceived as documentary photography. In 2017, he photographed a protest in Serbia for the first time, which has awaken in him a desire to deal with documentary and street photography. Driven by this desire, he saved up enough to go to Paris in December 2018 to shoot the yellow vests movement. Since then, he s been in Paris twice, both times to photograph the movement.