There are riots in Paris. The reason is clearly disproportionate — a microscopic rise in prices for motor fuel which has ended up in large-scale chaos, a whole army of police, smoke, shooting, blood, clouds of tear gas, water cannons, incessant sirens, and broken glass.
To be honest, it looks like a color revolution the US supplies for export. It happened right after Macron said they needed a European Army. Gas prices in France are twice as high as those in Russia but they still aren’t the highest in Europe. For example, in Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, they are even higher — by about 15%. But no one’s rioting there. While in France, there is violence in the streets and demands of Macron’s resignation.
It’s straight out of a Gene Sharp textbook — there’s coordination of protests and a viral video, allegedly made by ordinary Frenchmen calling to take the street, in addition, the protests have a catchy title “Yellow Vests”.
Seriously, how can the US tolerate an alternative to NATO in Europe? Think what you like, but the first wave of fuel riots swept across France just a week after Macron announced the need to create a European army. The situation is getting even more acute. This Saturday is no exception.
The rage of the protesters is so great that even our fellow journalists get a taste of it.
Our correspondent Daria Grigorova’s reporting from France. She also was attacked during the shooting of this report.
Where the “Yellow Vests” appear, there’s only chaos, smoke, and fire. Paris has never seen such preparations for Christmas. It’s like a real street war. The Yellow Vests are trying to defend their position near the Arc de Triomphe. Tear gas is applied in return.
The police are drowning the symbol of France in acrid smoke. The Arc de Triomphe became the center for clashes. Here, protesters began to gather in small groups since 9 am. It was clear they came not to talk but to fight.
The police applied all of the armories they had. Grenade launchers were loaded with gas grenades. Policemen shot these right at the crowd. In addition to the effect of gas, people get bruised and cut when getting hit by them. Our crew was hit with one as well.
“From one of the streets…”
However, the protesters refused to leave the area. The “Yellow Vests” at the Eternal Flame under the tears of shells sang revolutionary “La Marseillaise”. Some of them climbed to the very top. There were insults to President Macron written on the walls.
“Macron should resign and France should admit electing him was a crap decision.”
At the wide Avenue Foch, the protesters built up barricades and lit tires. When the police arrived, a battle broke out. The policemen were defending themselves on the hill, the protesters tried to take it by storm. On one of the adjacent streets, where the most severe clashes are, a water cannon has appeared. The policemen are using it as a cover. The first wounded appeared. There were more than 100 wounded. One of them is known to be in a coma.
This is how the “Yellow Vests” prepare ammunition. They disassemble the city flower-beds. Soon, these rocks will be thrown at policemen. At first, it seems there’s no plan, leader, or clear organization. There’s no certain pattern in what the Yellow Vests are doing. Black acrid smoke has filled the center of Paris. Three cars are burning in this street. Firefighters have come to put them out, however, the protesters aren’t letting them to the fire.
Today’s action was called in a theatrical manner — Act 3. The “Yellow Vests” announced mobilization throughout the country on November 24th. Since then, 106 thousand people have taken part in such actions or riots in other words.
They spread information via social media and messengers.
– It’s difficult to do it via Facebook because there’s very tight control there. Our country actually pays Mark Zuckerberg for such control, for…
– So they would delete certain posts, right?
– Yeah. We have Telegram, though.
Eight hours after the start of the clashes, the police began to push the protesters further away from the l’Étoile square. The “Yellow Vests” are putting up a barricade on one of the streets of everything that comes handy: there are fences, building materials, even a public toilet.
The police are acting decisively now. A police vehicle appeared in the rear of the protesters. They immediately started throwing stones at it.
As a result, there are clashes throughout the entire center of Paris. Cars and shops are burning in 13 different city areas — from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre. The protesters broke into boutiques in the famous Rue de Rivoli. They are turning over and burning cars in the narrow streets. Shocked Parisians can only hope that there will be no explosion.
The damage from the previous action was estimated at €1 million by the city administration. This time it’s apparently going to be more. This sum doesn’t include the losses in the private sector: owners of pharmacies, cafes, and car dealerships. The hotel industry is highly concerned — tourists cancel reservations en masse because of the “Yellow Vests”.
“France has changed a lot. I’d say today I’d like to be a Russian and live in Russia. Despite all the things we hear about Putin, this is Macron who is the real dictator! But we don’t want to listen to him.”
“France has changed” was said about Macron’s policymaking. He promised a new country — the one without red tape, unemployment, and endless strikes. Now it is clear that the “president of the rich”, as the French call him, did not succeed.
The same thing that has brought him into office now forces him to leave.
There one thing the president can hope for — Act 4 will never happen.