Uprisings and Riots in France
A third week of anti-government protests intensified in violence on Saturday in various locations in France, as demonstrators burned cars, smashed windows and confronted riot police firing tear gas in the heart of Paris in the most serious crisis of President Emmanuel Macron’s administration.
The ‘‘Yellow Vest’’ protests, so named by protesters wearing bright yellow "safety vests was spurred on by an increase in the gasoline tax, has now emerged as a spontaneous outcry over declining living standards in general.
‘What happened today in Paris has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of legitimate anger,” Mr. Macron said on Saturday. “Nothing justifies attacking the security forces, vandalizing businesses, either private or public ones, or that passers-by or journalists are threatened, or the Arc de Triomphe defaced.”
(Unfortunately, in their crowd driven zeal, protestors spray painted graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe)
But the intensity and anger seems to be dramatically increasing as the challenges of feeding their families increases by the escalating gasoline tax costs.
Worth reading, thinking about and adding your intuitions.
Thinking of our conversations here with Muriel, from France, asking if we followed international news and realizing how grateful I've been for those from the U.K., Canada, France, Australia etc. who have chimed in here.
Grateful for Maria D. White, Zoron. and Bright Opal for all their input past and present, and for Muriel from France.
Others?? Let us know what countries you are in and how things are for you there.
'Yellow Jacket' riots rock Paris, leaves 133 injured, 412 arrested
Officials said those injured included 23 police officers and that 378 of the arrested had been put in police custody.
Love, light, and healing prayers,
Thank you Michèle for the tread, it warms my heart to see people caring
What I would like to say is un that protests are mainly peaceful. But we have very disturbing images and testimonies on social medias.As démonstratifs have been shocked about police brutality on Nov. 24 they filmed peoples' injures, they filmed the casseurs who turn out to be corps ( I don't say every violence is from the police but the repression was at the level of a dictatorship).
I don't know if it's only to make people as there is a lot of them (government figures are ridiculous) or, worse, if they want chaos to put a state of emergency.
I am too emotional to have a reading of the situation. But people are angry, determined and around 80% of the population support the movement (which proves it's not a bunch of violent anarchists )
When I read your post, the first thing that came to my mind was "Russia". I think that the protests are being instigated by forces sympathetic to Russia and their two-fold mission: 1. Sell more oil, 2. Destabilize the West as much as possible.
Given the recent climate science report we received here in the US, paying higher gas taxes is necessary to help jolt western societies out of the energy lethargy we are currently in. The phrase being bandied about is "climate genocide". The report basically says that even if every country committed to sustainable energy and carbon sequestration, we're done for. The worst will happen. Millions will die.
I know many in the world are not making ends meet sufficiently to pay higher taxes of any kind, but this is where we're headed - wars will be fought, the world will burn, water will be more valuable than gold, people will die.
That's interesting Laura.
About Russia I don't know but out issues are real and deep. For me it is mainly due to euro.
As for taxes, the excuse of climate is a lie. If you want a shift in iransport you have first to propose alternatives. The first thing Macron did as a minister is to close train lines to replace them by poluting diesel buses. Hé doesn't want to tax kerosen neither. Je just proposed to help people buying électric cars but most people can't change car and they are not the solution as they would imply more nuclear plants and cause child labour in Congo.
Thé solution for climate change Can be the same as the solutions for social problems. Starting with buying local when possible.
Just heard from a couple living in France that fits Muriel's observations that this is an honest mostly peaceful uprising of what she describes as French lower middle-class and underclass, not coming from the outside. She's an intelligent and well-read longtime friend, an American married to a Frenchman, living in France 25 years. Below is their first-hand observation:
"The history of France is full of such events -- not only Bastille Day French Revolution, but also May 1968 demonstrations, la Commune 1948 "Power to the People" faced with the massive injustice of the Industrial Revolution, the Socialist Front Populaire "Workers Unite" of 1936 with Leon Blume, the Revolt of the Miners with Jean Jaures in 1914.
"We've been following the French media, but also USA news coverage of the events, and the American reporters have got it all wrong. So I wanted to contribute my opinion, [along with my husband], on what's going on here, from an inside point of view.
"Fundamentally, this is a movement of the lower middle class and underclass, in reaction to the gas tax and the supression of the ISF (Impot sur la Fortune) millionaire tax. But also a groundswell of grassroots people - retired, unemployed, nurses, farmers, artisans, workers, small business owners - who are tired of being ignored and taxed to death, and at the same time having Public Services slashed - hospitals, elementary schools, post offices, etc. On my 500 solo trek through the villages of rural France on the Chemin de St Jacques, I met and talked to so many of these people; it was so moving and truly a learning experience.
"Most of the Gilets Jaunes are against violent acts of arson and car burning; and the movement is supported by 80% of the French people. Don't worry, we are all going about our everyday activities normally, at least in Bordeaux. We went through the Gilets Jaunes roadblocks when we went to Ste Foy, we chatted with them, signed a petition (not forced), and went on our way.
"BUT it has NOTHING to do with the Trump electorate; This is a movement of the left liberal but fiscally conservative, against waste but for Public Service, the common good, health insurance, fairness, pro-diversity, (even pro-ecology if not more taxes). Better represented by the radical left, at least like that of Bernie Sanders, rather than Trump's Hillbilly Elegy. In spite of the "casseurs," the violent youth who've infiltrated the movement, it's a positive thing...! Because all of these folks who in the past have been passive non-voters, are finally in the streets and politically mobilized.
"If you haven't read about him yet, please read Thomas Picketty's comments (the economist author of "Captial" concerning the rise of the rich in the USA and Europe) about the current economic inequality in France. According to Picketty, Macron, even though cute(!) and young(!), has made the mistake of applying Rothschild banking l'ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration) principles that are 20 years behind the times. Picketty advises Macron to immediately revoke the gas tax and the ISF, as symbolic measures, and only then negotiate with the Gilets Jaunes. Otherwise, according to Picketty, "il va droit dans le mur" / he's going to crash into the wall.
Thanks Jeanne, it's interesting to have the view of an American living here.
I mostly agree with her and I hope it will end with a better society, with more social justice and hope in the future.
Today, Paris is blocked by ambulances who have serious Issues right now because of a new law. The students demonstrate too.
Demonstrations are organised in Germany too but I don't know much about it.
I have a thought .
We have had so many interesting book recommendations over the past few months I find I am often intrigued. Unfortunately, they get buried in a post and of course I don't alway remember which post a particular suggestion is located. Could we start a separate book suggestion section with a link back to the original post or at least the reason why we should consider reading the book? Creating a book idea category would be a fabulous way to discover authors and further explore interesting topics wish are discussed in the forum.
When I first saw the riots I thought how easy it would be for a country like Russia to hijack a peaceful protest to try to destabilize and create political problems in the west.
The same way the west helped hijack the peaceful Arab spring protests to overthrow regimes it didn't approve of.
Welp, I'm just back from my French 1 class, and the teacher schooled me! He is French and said protesting is a French tradition, going back to the Revolution, that everyone protests everything all the time. He also said that the French think it's unjust to raise gas taxes. I countered with gas taxes are needed to offset environmental damage and develop new technologies, and he agreed.
He also said that there's some things that are different than the norm - for example, the whole "yellow jacket" thing. He explained everyone who has a car has to have a yellow safety vest in it in case of emergency, and that the protestors were not letting anyone pass in or out of a car without one. He also said they defaced monuments, which is apparently not something that's part of the tradition at all, and that it makes it look like there's serious agitation going on.
So it's entirely possible that what is being portrayed as a traditional French protest is in fact being stirred up by outside forces.
And is it just me or did that "frat handshake" between MBS and Putin come across as absolutely a sign that they are joining forces to destroy the US?
Hi, Laura, I hope you enjoy French lessons !
This movement has nothing to do with demonstrations we used to see. People are very clear, it's not a demonstration, it's a revolt. They compare the movement to mai 1968 or to 1789 révolution.
It has nothing to do with ecology either.
The situation is very tense and I must say I am afraid of what will happen. Not worried, afraid. So I am sorry I won't give more details, I just can't without going mad.
A young man I know is at the hospital right now in coma after he received a flash ball in the head . If he wakes up he will in a vegetative state.He's a 28 years old house builder, normal life. Do I just ask you to send light to him and his family if you want to. Thanks.
My heart light goes out to you and the people of France but many, many prayers of light and understanding compassion to this young man and all who know and care for him, especially his own family and loved ones.
So many, many martyrs of the light now to shine their life's light on the terrible pain of those who suffer and grieve as a result of being born, living, or dying during this time on earth.
May love, mercy, hope and faith that these times serve as beacons and guidance for all of us in the days ahead.
Love, light, and healing prayers,
Macron backed down on the gas tax hike for now, but the protesters says it's not enough to alleviate their situation and they plan more protests against what they call an elitist's government run by a banker.
The unions are also vowing to join the protests.
Although I can understand people's belief that the demonstrations are instigated by Russia or any other foreign government wishing to destabilize the region. That had been my first thought when I heard about it.
But my friends in Bordeaux are savvy about these things and they had just completed a summer-long 500 mile trek throughout the villages of France where they spoke with locals every day. She says the sentiments of the protesters have been building for a while and did not erupt out of nowhere. They believe the protests are genuinely from the grassroots.
I threw a card on Macron with apologies for being poorly read on French politics. He wants to restore order by putting out the fires that have erupted in the working classes. He will try to give the impression that he is everyone's leader, not just the elite. But he is from the elite and doesn't know how to bridge the gap between their well being and the economic vision he has in his banker's mind.
He is going to try to buy time with promises but the people want action not words.
Jeanne, you and your are right I think.
In everyday conversation, I have often heard (and said)
"One day it will explode" for many years.
Then Macron came into power. In a very short period of of time, he cancelled taxes for the very wealthy people, rise privileges for members of government... He add taxes for retired people, cut aid for students housing... And he regularly insulted the people he is supposed to serve. He calls poor people "teethless" he said unemployed are nothing and even insulted us in speeches he made abroad.
And now, I have never seen such a hatred. It's too late for Macron I think.
Jeanne, you might not know much about French politics but what you feel about Macron is exactly what is happening right now. Very accurate.
Stu, there are probably governments looking closely and ready for intervention. Manipulation is everywhere too. I am pretty sure Putin is happy Trump is happy too, but for wrong reasons, ecology is important for a lot of people here.
Laura, you mention an encounter between Putin and MBS. Macron have a discussion with MBS too in Argentina. A British journalist filmed without them being aware of that The last sentence could be heard, it was Macron telling him"don't worry, I am a man of words." Chilling.
This morning, I woke up very anxious with all the police and military in the streets of Paris.
But this happened (and I guess it won't be seen on TV as much as violence)
I am sorry I just have a Facebook link, but it is worth watching for the high vibes