The Yellow Vests have reached critical mass. And the movement has now created the perfect storm for President Emmanuel Macron.
He can no longer ignore it, even though he tried to do so. And his lack of understanding of the situation as well as his open contempt for his opposition has placed him in a political vice.
Ignoring the problem will only make him look weaker and more disinterested. He could address the situation, put France first and step aside for new elections, which is the decent thing to do.
But, he’s chosen the predictable third option, crack down on the protesters in a futile show of strength. Authoritarians react to challenges like clockwork.
Disobedience is met with violence. More disobedience is met with more violence.
Before last weekend’s Act VIII protests Macron had one of the Yellow Vests original organizers, Éric Drouet, a truck driver, arrested and released pending a trial for “organizing an undeclared demonstration” while meeting with friends at a restaurant.
Guns Not Butter
Update: Now PM Edouard Philippe is signaling a new law that will ban all forms of protests. According to the latest from Zerohedge:
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented the new initiative to curtail the violence and unrest while targeting “troublemakers” and banning anonymity through wearing masks on French TV channel TF1 on Monday. He said the law would give police authority crack down on “unauthorized demonstrations” at a moment when police are already arresting citizens for merely wearing a yellow vest, even if they are not directly engaged in protests in some cases.
PM Philippe said the government would support a “new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare [protests], those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks”.
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