IT’S CRISIS AS USUAL IN FRANCE

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IS FRANCE ON THE BRINK OF CIVIL WAR?

For the past 23 weeks, French citizens are dealing with riots every Saturday. However, most news outlets are all but ignoring this ongoing story. Maybe that’s because France is usually experiencing some sort of crisis.

Elected in 2017, President Emmanuel Macron announced an increase in fuel taxes in line with his new environmental policies to reduce carbon emissions. Those who live in rural areas and depend on their cars to get around became enraged at the increasing costs of driving and tighter limits on speed. According to law, all cars in France must carry highly-visible yellow vests. This inspired the name of the “gilets jaunes”, otherwise known as the “Yellow Vest” movement.

The rioters see President Macron–a centrist–as being out-of-touch with ordinary people. They believe his policies favor the wealthy at the expense of the rest of the country, according to Breitbart. However, those who work and live in the cities see the “Yellow Vests” as Communist agitators.

Sporting a 46-percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP), France has the highest recorded tax rate of any developed nation, according to a report in Breitbart. 

CRISIS AS USUAL

The “Yellow Vests” riot every Saturday on the streets of Paris and other cities; setting cars on fire and destroying property. Meanwhile, French citizens go about their daily lives, seemingly unaffected by the chaos that might be taking place across the street. According to a friend of mine who lives in the Normandy town of Rouen, it’s “crisis as usual” in France.

“It’s part of our way of living,” he tells me. “Deaths, strikes, terrorists… It’s what makes France unique. People come to Paris because they know that each day, anything can happen.”

In fact, Rouen was the site of a terrorist attack in July of 2016. Two armed men who later identified themselves as ISIS terrorists slit the throat of an 84-year-old priest and took four other people hostage during a morning Mass, according to reports.

My friend commutes to Paris by train every day and tells me that it’s like navigating through a dangerous zoo. “From Nantes to Rouen, as usual, the subway was a war zone,” he says.

“It looks like a video game between Parisians, French workers moving by subway, tourists, school students, yellow vests, Arabs, thieves vs. police, men sexually assaulting women, Chinese people being robbed, and people like me with no time; going from train to train. Welcome to the jungle!”

He says the video below is an accurate depiction of what it’s like to take the 13LINE subway to Saint Lazard heading to Saint Denis. “If you go to Paris, don’t take the 13LINE if you really don’t have to,” he warns, adding, “NYC’s subway looks soft in comparison.”

The French take everything in stride, according to my friend. “It’s funny seeing strangers watching all that mess, ‘looking normal for us’, and they’re like, ‘what the f*** is going on?'”

NOTRE-DAME FIRE INCITES ANGER

Notre-Dame cathedral is in ruins after the iconic landmark suffered a disastrous fire on Monday, so French officials have banned protesters from marching in the area. But that hasn’t stopped the notorious “Yellow Vests” from wreaking havoc in the streets of Paris and other French cities. 

On Friday, Christophe Castaner, the country’s interior minister, said intelligence reports predicted violent riots on Saturday. Targeted cities included Paris, Toulouse, Montpellier, and Bordeaux.

“The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame,” Castaner told reporters, according to Reuters.

The restoration of Notre-Dame is also adding fuel to today’s riots after two French billionaires pledged more than 600 million euros to the rebuilding.

SATURDAY RIOTS NOW UNDERWAY

President Emmanuel Macron planned to respond to the disgruntled group’s demands to slash taxes and add more government services on Monday. However, the Notre-Dame fire caused him to cancel, reports Breitbart.

Three weeks ago, the “Yellow Vests” said that Saturday, 20 April, will be a war zone in Paris, my French source told me.

“It started as Yellows vs the Government, then Yellows vs Police, and now it’s Yellows vs workers,” he said. “Now, there are Yellows vs 60,000 police officers in Paris. Sounds like something strong.”

He further predicted that business owners will soon fight the Yellow Vests. Since the riots began, local businesses have greatly suffered. 

”If necessary, I’ll be one of them fighting the communist Yellows,” he vowed, adding, “Along with 99% of the population.”

©️Jill Cueni-Cohen

About the author

Jill Cueni-Cohen
Jill Cueni-Cohen

Jill Cueni-Cohen is an international freelance journalist, editor, ghost writer, speaker, and the author of Like It Was Yesterday - A Journalist's Files Since 9/11.