A tale of two protests

While I was wandering around the centre of Annecy on Saturday I came across a parade of the gilets jaunes – yellow vests – protesting Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax hike. It was very peaceful, mostly middle aged folk carrying the flag of the Haute Savoie region accompanied by a couple of gendarmes who didn’t look as though they expected trouble. Those marching stopped to natter to locals they passed on the way.

This was in stark contrast to the scenes in Paris over the weekend where cars were tipped over and set on fire, monuments defaced, and shops looted. Judging by the Arabic and anarchist graffiti on display my guess is the yellow vest protest in the capital has been hijacked by the usual troublemakers. In other words, what is going on in Paris isn’t representative of what is happening everywhere else. This is the case for most things in France.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Macron uses the violence in Paris to smear the entire movement. If he does, the division between the capital and the countryside will grow even larger. That won’t be good for anyone.

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21 thoughts on “A tale of two protests

  1. Nothing about Macron is any good for anybody except sadistic homosexual bodyguards seeking employment.

  2. Yes, it’s something like a law of politics. Troublemakers will look for trouble. Those with a specific grievance will be joined by those who want everything overturned, because very little about society suits them. It’s probably why the Left has picked up the cause of Islamism, along with a whole load of other daft issues that should only be the concern of obscure minorities.

  3. I led the technical team for a 3G licence bid in South Africa many moons ago. The supplier of choice was Nortel and they provided a couple of their GSM engineers to support the bid. As it happens they were French from Matra that Nortel* had recently bought. I got on well them.

    We also had a French construction company lined up to manage the build and they sent down one of their Project Managers to support the bid. Right from the off we didn’t get on and he took every opportunity to undermine me, and once called me a racist. When I spoke to the Nortel guys about him they said “ignore him, he’s from Paris”. I think that lesson applies to capital cities and provinces throughout the world to some degree.

    *As it happened I’d also worked in Dallas for a couple of months a couple of years prior helping Nortel to integrate Matra just after the purchase. I learnt a lot about French companies then, so did Nortel. They were not easy to integrate at the management level, engineers will always be engineers and they were easy.

  4. Sam Vara
    “It’s probably why the Left has picked up the cause of Islamism”

    The left and islam are in an Molotov Ribbentrop pact. T

  5. The impression I’ve got from the French is that Paris isn’t regarded as being in France, at all. It’s a foreign occupying power. Their children depart for Paris & return as strangers speaking a different language.

  6. David Moore–Ask Macron–it’s his arse you’ll be… er……covering– so to speak.

    Sorry–your friend will be.

  7. David Bishop:

    They look genuine. More importantly, I wonder what our political class makes of it? One hopes they replay those images before more talk of a second referendum.

  8. Tim, what do you make of these two posts, apparently showing some police and firemen supporting the protesters?

    This doesn’t surprise me at all: the French police are far more ingrained into the communities than their British counterparts, and far less inclined to start getting heavy-handed from people they probably know socially and depend upon to get their jobs done. I wrote about this here. This probably wouldn’t happen in Paris, though.

  9. Jonathan Miller in the speccie is worth reading on this today. There seems to be widespread recognition that the gilets’ protests have been usurped by others although the line taken by Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, is that it is the far right who are responsible. Given the looting and arab graffiti daubed on buildings this seems counter-productive and less than credible.

  10. Alas it seems to be the case in Europe, including the UK, that non violent protests, of the type that the establishment doesn’t like, are invariably infiltrated with violent activists that harm the movement. Whether this is skulduggery by TPTB or just coincidence is not for me to say.

  11. Whenever I can, I avoid France: it’s expensive and anarchic. Lovely wine and polite young women are just not worth the hassle.

    By the way, the scenes in Paris will have damaged Little Napoleon’s dream of attracting bankers from London after Brexit…..Bwahahaha

  12. I think its time that Trump lent some legitimacy to Les Hi-Viz and sent his equivalent of Victoria Nuland to hand out croissants and McCain to express his support with Le Pen at his side.

  13. FYI

    @Brent Hargreaves, Dec 3, 2018 at 9:04 PM wrote

    “Cripes, I’ve just been watching the French equivalent of a Parliamentary Inquest on Saturday’s riots.

    The Interior Minister Christophe Castaner – in post only since October – spoke of the tricky security compromises required in a democracy when there is widespread violent protest against the elected government. Listening to him the word dignity occurred to me.

    -The people have the absolute right to protest; no permission required from the authorities
    -Among the protestors are well-documented commies and fascists, out to cause trouble
    -Also among them are crims intent on getting an armful of Chanel No 5 (my words, not his)
    -They put a perimeter around key symbols of the Republic, but the bigger the looser
    -There would certainly have been dead police had they not surrendered the Arc de Triomphe
    -The Arc was lost – and retaken – six fecking times. (The verb used was reconquis.)
    -Outside this 3-ring perimeter were other symbolic targets which he obviously declined to list.
    -There’s more trouble promised for next Saturday
    -He hopes that the Climate Protest planned for next weekend will be cancelled (his cup runneth over)
    -A State of Emergency is not a good idea….., but he didn’t categorically rule it out

    Most chillingly, an army General stated that, since no live rounds were fired at the security services he declined to send in armoured forces.”

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