By: Denise Simon | Founders Code
The protests began in Paris and continue where some real violence is reported. 2,000 people have been arrested from this past weekend and to date, the damage from the protests has reached an estimated $1 billion. Where is Macron? That is a good question.
France 24 is reporting that this movement, which began mobilizing on Facebook against increases in fuel taxes, has spread to Belgium and the Netherlands.
We cannot omit Canada in all of this.
In Calgary, more than 100 protesters, some accompanied by dogs also decked out in yellow vests, chanted: “No Trudeau. No Trudeau,” outside of city hall. Some yelled “String him up,” others yelled “Traitor!”
“They hate our country and they hate our way of life,” yelled one speaker through a megaphone, to cheers and whistles, not specifying who “they” are.
Calgary police said the rally was peaceful and no protesters were arrested.
Ah… but hold on, nothing goes on without some finger-pointing at Russia which loves to exacerbate conditions. Bloomberg reports:
France opened a probe into possible Russian interference behind the country’s Yellow Vest protests, after reports that social-media accounts linked to Moscow have increasingly targeted the movement.
According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, about 600 Twitter accounts known to promote Kremlin views have begun focusing on France, boosting their use of the hashtag #giletsjaunes, the French name for the Yellow Vest movement. French security services are looking at the situation, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday in a radio interview with RTL.
Russia has been criticized for using social media to influence elections in the U.S. and elsewhere. Attempts to use fake news reports and cyberattacks to undercut the 2017 campaign of French President Emmanuel Macron failed, but Russian-linked sites have pushed questionable reports of a mutiny among police, and of officers’ support for the protests.
“An investigation is now underway,” Le Drian said. “I will not make comments before the investigation has brought conclusions.”
The Twitter accounts monitored by the alliance usually feature U.S. or British news. But the French protests “have been at or near the top” of their activity for at least a week, according to Bret Schafer, the alliance’s Washington-based social media analyst. “That’s a pretty strong indication that there is interest in amplifying the conflict” for audiences outside France.
The Alliance for Securing Democracy is a unit of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., which monitors pro-Kremlin activity.
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to speak to the nation Monday at last, after increasingly violent and radicalized protests against his leadership and a long silence that aggravated the anger. Many protesters only want one thing: for him to declare “I quit.”
That’s an unlikely prospect. Instead Macron is expected to announce a series of measures to reduce taxes and boost purchasing power for the masses who feel his presidency has favored the rich. He’s being forced to act after four weeks of “yellow vest” protests that started in struggling provinces and spread to rioting in the capital that has scared tourists and foreign investors and shaken France to the core.
Macron met Monday morning in his presidential palace with local and national politicians, unions and business leaders to hear their concerns. In the evening, he will give a national televised address, his first public words in more than a week.
Among steps the government is considering are abolishing taxes on overtime, speeding up tax cuts and an end-of-year bonus for low-income workers. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday the government could delay some payroll taxes, but expressed resistance to restoring the wealth tax or lowering taxes for retirees, among protesters’ demands. He stressed that the measures should focus on helping the working classes.
More trouble between European leaders?
ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Sunday President Emmanuel Macron was to blame for the “yellow vest” protests that have rattled France and urged Brussels to take heed of what was happening.
Salvini, head of the rightist League, has clashed repeatedly with Macron in the past over immigration policy and has leapt on the anti-government demonstrations rocking Paris as proof the French president has lost his political touch.
“History will probably show that if (Macron) had focused more on the French and less on Salvini and Italy, he would have a few less problems today.”