The Gilets Jaunts (“Yellow Vest”) protests have continued this weekend, with an estimated 10,000 people participating in violent protests and looting and more than 1300 people arrested.
Protests are still occurring throughout the country, but the focus has shifted to Paris as the demands have changed. The original sole demand of the Yellow Vest movement has been met: the elimination of proposed fuel tax increases.
“The government is ready for dialogue and has proven so, because the proposed tax increase has been dropped from the 2019 budget bill,” Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told lawmakers late Wednesday.France 24
With that concession, many of the elderly pensioners who initially participated have stopped protesting. The others who joined with them have hijacked the movement, however, and are using French good will toward the anti-tax protesters to further their agendas.
As reported by the BBC, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire spoke out against the protests:
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the situation “a crisis” for both society and democracy.
“It’s a catastrophe for commerce, it’s a catastrophe for our economy,” he said during a visit to shops in Paris that had been damaged during the protests.
President Trump tweeted about the French situation on Saturday morning:
His position has been echoed by some pro-Republican media sites, such as the Daily Caller. It is demonstrably false, however; while the tax hikes were to have been implemented specifically to combat global warming, the elimination of those increases has not ended the violence. Claiming that the fuel tax remains the impetus for the violence masks the anti-capitalist agendas of the violent socialist groups who have taken over part of the movement and the violent nationalist groups who have taken over other parts of the movement.
President Trump would be well advised to avoid basking in the appreciation of violent anti-capitalists of any stripe. The French Foreign Minister – their equivalent of the U.S. Secretary of State – has attempted to advise him of this, through a politely worded warning.
“We do not take domestic American politics into account and we want that to be reciprocated,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI television.
“I say this to Donald Trump and the French president says it too: leave our nation be.”France 24