What started out as a grassroots rebellion against diesel taxes and the high cost of living has turned into something even more serious for Emmanuel Macron which is a direct attack on his presidency and French institutions.
The anti-government protesters on Saturday used a forklift truck to force their way into a government ministry compound, torched cars near the Champs Elysees and in one violent skirmish on a bridge over the Seine punched and kicked riot police officers to the ground.
The French authorities’ struggle to maintain order during the weekend protests raises questions not just over policing tactics but also over how Macron responds, as he prepares to bring in stricter rules for unemployment benefits and cut thousands of public sector jobs.
Macron had attempted to talk tough against the Yellow Vests by maintaining they are nothing but thugs and violent anarchists but this appears to have backfired badly for him.
Around 50,000 protesters marched through cities and towns across France, including Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rennes and Marseille.
In Paris, the street marches began peacefully but degenerated when some protesters threw punches at baton-wielding officers, torched electric scooters and garbage bins along the Left Bank’s upscale Boulevard Saint Germain and set cars ablaze near the Champs Elysees. Clashes erupted in other cities too.
Both yellow vests and “casseurs”, disaffected youths from anti-capitalist or anarchist groups, appeared to have all united in the cause to remove Macron. Many highlight his arrogance and his Napoleonic complex while they insist as a former Rothschild banker he is merely a puppet for globalists.
The government has insisted it will not back down in its pursuit of reforms to reshape the economy, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Friday, branding the remaining protesters agitators seeking to overthrow the government.
Twenty-four hours later, he was fleeing his office out of a back door as protesters invaded the courtyard and smashed up several cars. “It wasn’t me who was attacked,” he later said. “It was the Republic.”
Questions in the UK are being asked about the blanked ignoring of what is going on in France as well as the UK Yellow Vest protests that are now taking place across the UK.