France has now experienced thirteen straight weeks of yellow vest protests in the streets, many turning into riots, where demonstrators have demanded President Emmanuel Macron abscond from office. It’s a clear signal of public opposition to the “reforms” Macron has been trying to enact as well as a broader rejection of globalist economic initiatives. But is the movement threatening to spill outside that nation’s borders? The AP reports that this weekend saw similar activity well to the northeast in Latvia, where demonstrators made direct references to the French troubles.
Earlier Saturday, activists in Latvia staged a picket in front of the French embassy in Riga, the capital of the small Baltic EU country, to support the yellow vest movement and urge Latvians to demand higher living standards.
The activists waved Latvia’s red-and-white flag, shouting slogans like “the French have woken up, while Latvians remain asleep.”
This has been brewing for a few weeks now. In mid-January, smaller protests called by the Latvian Russian Union (LKS) resulted in people showing up wearing yellow vests and mimicking some of the speeches given by protest leaders in Paris. Thus far, however, violence has not broken out and the demonstrations remain largely peaceful.
Meanwhile, back in France, the yellow vest squads were back out in force this weekend as well. Sadly, the same peaceful nature did not prevail as the protests once again turned into riots. One demonstrator had most of his hand blown off by either a smoke bomb or a “grenade” of some sort. Either way, they’re blaming the police for heavy-handed tactics.
A French yellow vest protester’s hand was ripped apart Saturday during violent clashes in Paris as demonstrators tried to storm the French National Assembly in a 13th consecutive week of unrest.
Police said the injured protester lost four fingers as police swooped in to stop protesters from breaching the parliament’s exterior. Police could not confirm French media reports that the hand of the demonstrator, who is now being treated in the hospital, was blown up by a grenade used to disperse unruly crowds.
As scuffles broke out in front of the National Assembly and French police responded with tear gas, paramedics huddled around the injured protester at the National Assembly gates.
In some ways, you can’t really blame the municipal government and the police. As we’ve discussed here many times, your demonstration is no longer just a demonstration after the first window is broken or the first building or car is set on fire. At that point, it’s a riot and the government is going to respond with riot police.
But with that said, the cops have really been coming down with a heavy hand. They’re issuing semiautomatic rifles and life ammunition to the riot police. They’re also breaking out tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds. Macron has already conceded to several of the demonstrators’ demands, but it doesn’t appear to be enough. If you push the people too far, particularly in France, the guillotines start showing up in the streets. What’s that old saying again? History doesn’t actually repeat itself, but it very often rhymes.