General Strike brings France To Standstill As Nation Protests Macron Policies

France has been closer to social breakdown than the political establishment in the EU and their mainstream media sock puppets will ever admit since the the gilets jaunes demonstrations at their height nearly torched Paris and other cities. It would be a mistake to think, as television news bulletins and large circulation newspapers have suggested that support fot the protest movement has dwindled or the national mood is any less angry. Last month we reported on protests promted by new, over – zealous restrictions on agriculture imposed by the EU, as thousands of French farmers drove their tractors into Paris and other cities and blocked the main highways.

Today, in responce to calls by unions and activist groups for a nationwide strike, public workers across the country stayed home on Thursday, immobilizing public transit across the country as the first general strike in more than 20 years began.

The main reason for the walkout was President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms (not unlike how a planned – then scrapped – gas tax hike sparked the giles jaunes).

On the fist day of the strike, which is planned to last through the weekend, parts of Paris resembled ghost towns during the morning rush hours. Roads were empty, and train stations were deserted, according to the Times.

The biggest industrial action of Macron’s tenure is, so far, outweighting by a huge margin the Yellow Vests protests  in scale: 50% of French teachers are reported to be off work, nine out of ten trains have been cancelled today and eleven of the fourteen lines in the Paris Metro are closed. A total of 245 separate demonstrations have been announced across France as students,  police officers and firefighters, healthcare workers and others joining the action. Striking ground staff at Air France forced numerous flight cancellations, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. Air France cancelled 30% of its domestic flights and 10% of international short- and medium-haul flights on Thursday, RT reports.

Millions of workers are staying home.

In Paris, some commuters and shoppers resorted to bikes, skateboards or walking in the bitter cold as buses and underground trains failed to run. Some joked that the strike had made Paris into a much more ‘eco-friendly’ city. This  way of looking at the situation must have appealed to thousands of Extinction Rebellion activists and other environmentalist groups who took the opportunity to link their the climate action agenda to the protests.

The strike is expected to continue until Monday as the unions and Macron butt heads over the controversial pension reform proposals. Paris police are deploying 6,000 riot police to do battle with demonstrators who have decided to take their yellow vests out of the closet and back into action.

Many of the French capital’s most popular tourist spots were forced to shut their doors because of the strikes. The Eiffel Tower and the Orsay museum did not open on Thursday, while the large parts of The Louvre, the Pompidou Center and other museums were mostly closed with only the most popular exhibits accessible.

Outside the busy Gare du Nord railway station taxis lined up with their green lights on, struggling to find customers in the deserted streets.

Of more immediate concern for Macron and his beleagured government is the fact that dozens of gilet jaunes protesters are blocking the nations major fuel terminals in the south and near the city of Orleans, leaving more than 200 petrol stations without fuel on Thursday, while another 400 report they will run out on Friday. If that action persists the country could be at a standstill by the end of next week. These blockades show the protesters have a coherent strategy which could bring the country to its knees and force Macron out of office or at least into a humiliating climb down. No matter how many times political leaders wax lyrical about the wonders of clean, green, sustainable energy, society still needs oil,  in spite what the Swedeish Baby Troll Greta Thunberg and her supporters wish for.

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Yellow Vests Week 43: Tensions Escalate Again As France’s Protests Continue

For the Yellow Vests movement in France, September 7th was billed as a come back from the summer break when there has been a lull in activity. France traditionally comes to a near standstill in August each year as the French head off on their annual vacation, and the protest movement was no exception.

Unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron tried to take political advantage of this distraction to advance one of his many unpopular policies, pension reform plans that will create a single national pension system with higher contributions for individual taxpayers and lower ones for business, thus stoking up the potential for an escalation of protests to the levels witnessed earlier in the year.

Former investment banker Macron is not trusted on the pension issue by 70 percent of the population according to polls and his plan is seen as a ruse to lift the retirement age to 64 from 62 and a continuation of broader policies to tax workers more to pay for the welfare state while cutting taxes for business and wealthy individuals in the name of economic stimulation and competitiveness in the world economy.

The vehicle fuel taxes that triggered the fist protests last year were ostensibly “green” but in effect they served the same purpose of relieving the tax burden on business and shifting it onto the general population.

The notion that business comes before environmental concerns reinforced by word going into the Newsdump Weekend that pesticide use in France will be allowed within distances ranging between 15 and 30 feet of schools and homes.  Environmental activists and the EELV environmentalist party expressing their opposition to the plans. Such policies have destroyed Marcon’s credibility as they contradict his pretence to be heading a ‘green’ government, having made grandiose but unachievable promises to phase out petroleum and diesel vehicles and make France a net zero emissions economy by 2040.

Thousands took to the streets of France to protest today, not in the huge numbers at the height of the movement in the early months, but significantly up on recent weeks.

Demonstrations took place in Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier and Rouen as part of Yellow Vests’ “Act 43” rally. In some cities, particularly Montpellier, the protests turned violent with clashes between the participants and riot police. Violence was also reported in Rouen.

“The demonstrators threw projectiles on the police as protests continued into the night. Summations were made and there was the use of tear gas in response to the throwing of projectiles, the protesters were rejected and returned outside the perimeter,” the sub-prefect of permanence, Jean-Éric Winckler, said as quoted by AFP.

The first blockages Yellow Vests began early in the morning on Saturday, November 17, 2018 in Seine-Maritime.

Yellow Vests protestors in Rouen (picture: http://www.chb44.com )

​In Montpellier, between 1,500 and 3,000 people took part in the rally, with clashes also reported near the city’s station. According to AFP, some of the protesters fired projectiles, prompting the police to use tear gas.

Protestors in Montpellier use umbrellas as makeshift shields (Picture: Daily Mail )

Some incidents and clashes were also reported in Lille, where more than 600 protesters took part in the rally (according to a police source), while the Yellow Vests say the number of demonstrators there stood at 1,500.

Meanwhile, during a rally in Paris, an emblematic figure of the Yellow Vests movement, Éric Drouet, was fined twice “for organizing an undeclared event” and was ordered to leave the perimeter.

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Macron admits Yellow Vest chaos COULD be his fault — ‘I made MISTAKES’

Macron Moves Against yellow Vests, Bans Protests In Neighborhoods With “Ultra” Radicals

French Journalists Reject Government Narrative, Show Support For Yellow Vests Yellow Vests

Throughout the developed world we have witnessed, over the past few years, increased political pressure being applied to news organisations to promote the government line on issues such as multiculturalism and diversity, climate change, vaccines, military interventions and mass surveillance. Some governments have even go so far as to effectively abolish the right of free speech by criminalising so – called ‘hate speech’, a crime where, in common with medieval witch hunts, to be accused is regarded as suffficient proof of guilt. While Silicon Valley new media giants have made no secret of their political biases, even appearing to be vying for the role of official censors of internet content, the corruption of mainstream news journalism has been more insidious.

Though governments in the democratic world have been following a trend towards greater authoritarianism, implementing mass surveillance policies, and clamping down on freedom of expression, resistance is growing, and nowhere more so than France, a nation with a long tradition of anarchic dissent. For six months the ad – hoc protest movement known as Gilets Jaunes (Yellow vests) have protested against the globalist government of ‘boy – president’ Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker pushed into power by the establishment in a bid to fend of a victory by the nationalist Marine Le Pen and her Rassemblement National (formerly Front National.) The Macron government is seen as ruling in the interests of the rich and of global corporations. The Yellow Vests protests were triggered by punitive fuel taxes, a part of Marcron’s over – ambitious plan to turn France into a net – zero carbon emissions economy, and by rising living costs and high unemployment. Now what began as an expression of dissatisfaction among people on moderate incomes has evolved into something much bigger, something that could change France and further weaken the European Union

Marcon’s response to the protests has been to delpoy the para – military Gendarmerie against the protestors and authorise brutal riot control tactics against unarmed citizens.

police prepare to fire rubber bullets at yellow vests protestors
Police armed with riot guns and rubber bullets confron yellow vests protestors

Now, after supporting the government line so far, the news media have turned on Marcon, whose government is already on the brink of collapse as civil unrest threatens to turn into civil war. Over 300 media organisations, journalists, photographers, and others working to deliver news to French citizens have put their names to a letter denouncing the excessive brutality of the methods used in trying to suppress the protests. Rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannon, baton charges and punishment beatings have all been used against people involved in Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protests and members of the press corps in the cities and towns of France.

The letter claims that press freedom in France has been suffering for years under both conservative and socialist governments. Macron’s predecessor in office, the socialist Francois Hollande even went so far as to ‘ban’ conspiracy theories, though how that was intended to work we’re unable to say. The general dissatisfaction with all levels of French government entered a new phase following the start of the Yellow Vest protests in November of last year, Franceinfo reports.

“All these forms of violence have physical (injury), psychic (trauma) or financial (broken or confiscated equipment) consequences. We are personally and professionally denigrated and criminalized,” the journal wrote, highlighting the work of journalist David Dufresne who has catalogued at least 698 cases of people being attacked or injured by police at the protests, including 85 journalists.

The signatories to the letter also raised the issue of police demanding press cards, something not always available to independent journalists, saying, “As a reminder, journalism is not a regulated profession. It is not the press card that justifies our profession. That is why we demand that the government take the necessary measures so that law enforcement agencies stop harassing us and let us work freely.”

The issue of police violence towards members of the Yellow Vests has sparked concern from other sectors of society, including medical professionals, who, through their profesional body, said they had never seen so many serious injuries, some of which have included lost hands and eyes, during a protest movement.

Earlier this week, a 19-year-old woman who was so badly injured by police during a protest in Marseille on December 8th filed attempted murder charges against the officers, saying she was hit by a rubber bullet and then brutally beaten by plainclothes officers as she lay on the ground.

According to the 19-year-old, she had only just left work for the day before the assault and has been so badly injured that it took her four months to be able to return to her job in the retail sector.

In another example of excessive police violence, a 72 year old woman who fell to the ground after being hit by a rubber bullet was set on and beaten so badly by police officers as she lay on the ground that she lost an eye. Commenting on the outrage President Macron said he hoped she had learned some wisdom from the incident. It is encouraging that French journalists are no longer prepared to play down such revolting arrougance from the ruling elite.

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Macron applauds the beating of an old woman by police (Picture via http://www.neonnettle.com )

Paris In Chaos As “Armageddon” Protesters Riot On French May Day Holiday

After six months of street protests against the government of President Emmanuel Macron, the anger of the French people showed no sign of abating this may day holiday as tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on to mark International Workers’ Day (also known as Labuor Day). Following the pattern of the ‘Yellow Vests’ protests, nobody expected todays efforts to be peaceful  and it was inevitable protestors would  clash with French riot police.

The demonstrators included Yellow Vests, trade unionists, climate change protesters and Black Bloc (antifa) – which posted on social media that they wanted an “Armageddon” rally that would turn Paris into the “Riot Capital of Europe,” according to a report in  The Daily Mail reported today.

Paris Workers Day riots
Paris Workers Day Riots (Picture: Zero Hedge)

 

More than 7,400 police, gendarmes and soldiers were on duty to quell the more violent protesters. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said “‘There’s no question of dramatising anything, it is a question of being prepared,” adding that “1,000 to 2,000 extremists” were expected to take part in the protests.

Paris police said in the afternoon that 250 people had been arrested, most for public order offences related to the rioting, as cops clashed with ‘Black Bloc’ anti-capitalists. The Sun reported large areas of Paris are on lockdown as an unprecedented 7,400 police officers have been drafted onto the streets.

More May Day riots are expected in the French capital today, tomorrow and through the weekend following the months of chaos caused by ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters. The massive security presence on the streets of French cities was announced by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. May Day is a Bank Holiday and a traditional time for Left-Wing workers to rise up against the ruling elite echoing the May Day revolution that led to the collapse of the Russian Empire and the formation of The Soviet Union.

Marching alongside workers organisations, pensioners, students and others, the protesters were attacked with of tear gas, water cannon baton carges and other crowd control measures. Our source in France tells us dozens of masked and hooded anarchists clashed with riot police in southern Paris today (Wednesday), burning bins, smashing property and hurling projectiles. The anarchists hijacked a May Day rally that was focused on protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies, and the cost of living increases that have resulted from them.

Tens of thousands of trade union and “yellow vest” protesters were on the streets across France again, days after Macron outlined a response to months of street protests including tax cuts worth around 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion). Macron announced a series of proposals in response to the protesters demands, but many in the grassroots movement, which does not have a leadership structure, have said they do not go far enough and lack detail. The president’s problem is that nobody believes him, previous promises he has made have amounted to no more than creative accounting, moving money from one budget to another.

The increasing involvement of extremists in the protests signal that events are taking a nasty turnm in France and the protests are not likely to end well for anybody.

The founder and former leader of France’s right-wing Front National (FN) party, Mean-Marie Le Pen delivered a May 1 speech at the Place des Pyramides during a rally to honor Jeanne d’Arc. “Let’s have the courage to be nationalists,” he told the crowd, predicting “serious social and political dramas” to come.

Meanwhile in the southern French city of Toulouse, over 1,000 protesters made their way through the streets of La Ville En Rose, however local media has yet to report any violence according to The Local. There was also total media silence in the UK on this story, which should have led most news bulletins.

The yellow vest protests, named after motorists’ high-visibility jackets, began in November over fuel tax increases but have evolved into a sometimes violent revolt against politicians and a government seen as out of touch.

The banners in today’s crowds reflected the anger among some in the movement who feel abandoned by Macron’s economic policies.

The 41-year-old president, a former investment banker, pushed a reform blitz during the first 18 months of his presidency that impressed wealthy business and professional people but infuriated low-paid workers, who feel he favors big business and is indifferent to their struggle to make ends meet.

“Here are the thugs,” one banner read, showing Macron, European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

Another targeted the president directly: “Macron, what have you done to us?”

Thousands of people also demonstrated in cities from Marseille to Bordeaux and Lyon, according to a report from Reuters.

It is becoming obvious that the only way France’s ruling elite, for years even more out of touch with the mood of the public that the political establishments in Britain, Germany and The USA, will solve this crisis is for the President and his government to resign and call a new election.

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General Strike brings France To Standstill As Nation Protests Macron Policies
Today, in response to calls by unions and activist groups for a nationwide strike, public workers across the country stayed home on Thursday, immobilizing public transit across the country as the first general strike in more than 20 years began.
The main reason for the walkout was President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms (not unlike how a planned – then scrapped – gas tax hike sparked the giles jaunes)…

Macron Isolated After More High Profile Resignations. Pressure Mounts On French President

Macron as Jupiter

On being elected President of France, Emmanuel Macron said he would rule in the style of Roman God Jupiter

On top of the yellow Vests debacle, which is now destabilising France as the anti – government protests continue, a string of high profile resignations from the tottering government of President Emmanuel Macron has prompted Gérard Larcher, leader of the French Senate to warn Macron that his authoritarian tendencies were partly to blame for the civil unrest crisis and political instability that have weakened his presidency.

Mr Macron’s office announced this week that government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux and Digital Affairs Minister Mounir Mahjoubi were leaving the administration, along with European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau. Monsieurs Griveaux and Mahjoubi are said to be planning to launch rival bids for next year’s mayoral election in Paris. The current mayor, Anne Hidalgo, a socialist is seeking re-election.

Mrs Loiseau, was a key player in communicating the French government’s stance on Brexit throughout the unsuccessful negotiations, she will move to head up Mr Macron’s pro-Europe La République en Marche (LREM) party in the May 26 European parliamentary elections.

Mr Griveaux has been government spokesman since November 2017, while Mr Mahjoubi was named digital minister in May 2017. Mrs Loiseau, a career diplomat, joined the Macron government in June 2017. A reshuffle is expected by Monday, the date of the next cabinet meeting, but could be announced early to avoid being bumped down the news bulletins by the coming weekend’s Yellow Vest protests.

In the last eight months, Mr Macron has waved goodbye to his popular ecology minister Nicolas Hulot, ally and interior minister Gérard Collomb, and close advisor Ismaël Emelien.

The latest batch of resignations have further eroded the ceredibility of Macron’s leadership, already undermined by easily supportable claims that he is a president for the rich and the global corporations (The Davosocracy,) and his policies are putting further pressure on low paid and middle income groups in what is now known to be the most highly taxed nation on the planet. The three ministers who quit the government on Wednesday were all assumed to be close allies of Macron. These latest resignations bring the number of cabinet members who have quit since the boy president took office in May 2017 to ten.

“Maybe the [resignations] are a reflection of Mr Macron’s vertical governing style … maybe they reflect the head of state’s growing isolation,” Mr Larcher told Europe 1 radio shortly after the departures were confirmed in an emailed statement.

The spate of ministerial resignations, along with rising living costs, tax increases, immigration and Macron’s push to integrate France more closely politically and economically with germany have all contributed to the discontent that triggered the Yelloiw Vest movement and now has Marcon’s with his political opponents depicting him as an increasingly solitary figure with diminishing popularity and an aura of cluelessness.

Ghosts Of ’68 Threaten Macron’s Technocratic Dream.

The idealistic hope that mass protests and civil disobedience could trigger real social change met with some success in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but looked to have died after the USA’s 1960s civil rights movement and anti – war protests. The recent mass demonstrations of Frane’s gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement in 2018, a movement … Continue reading

France: Yellow Vests Rampage After Founder Arrested


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5 January, 2019
Violence has erupted across France once again, days after French authorities arrested a key organizer of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement. After today’s protests began peacefully the Paris police once again used riot busting tactics, attacking the yellow vested demonstraters with teargas and batons as protesters began to get noisy during the so-called ‘Act VIII” … Continue reading

France’s yellow vest revolt against Macron will cause huge headache in 2019

Since the first incarnation of the EU an The Common Market, FRANCE has always been considered one of the bastions of European stability and a poster state for financial and political integration among European Union countries. But former Goldman Sachs banker Emmanuel Macron has thrown both France’s position as Germany’s chief sidekick and the dream … Continue reading

Germany and France furious after UK joins EU nations to BLOCK bid to dominate technology industry

BRITAIN has teamed up with the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain to block electrical and electronic engineering giants Alstom and Siemens from creating a mega Franco-German corporation to dominate European tech industry. Siemens and Alstom agreed last year to merge certain operations, creating a company with £13.5million (€15billion euros) in revenue and a workforce of 62,000. … Continue reading

Yellow Vests block Major Roads, Cause Transport Chaos In France

Reuters reports French “yellow vest” protesters wreaked havoc with road transport on Tuesday by occupying autoroute toll booths and even torching some of them. France’s biggest toll road operator, Vinci Autoroutes , said there were demonstrations at 40 of its sites and that several highway intersections had been heavily damaged, mainly in southern of France. … Continue reading

More Woe For France’s Macron,Now Gilets Jaunes Joined By Gilets Bleus

Macron fiddles with himself while Frsnce burns (Picture: express) Travellers in France, mainly around Paris, have been hit by delays at airports as French police slowed down passport controls in a protest over overtime pay. As we predicted last weekend, the Yellow Vests protestors are now being supported by the police service. The first action … Continue reading More

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Macron Moves Against yellow Vests, Bans Protests In Neighborhoods With “Ultra” Radicals

 

France is cracking down on “yellow vest” protesters following a weekend of renewed violence – as the Macron administration announced on Monday that it would ban demonstration in several areas of France – including the Champs Elysees in Paris, if “ultra elements” are present, according to Interior Minister Edouard Philippe.

‘We will ban demonstrations if ultra elements’ are present, said Philippe, according to CNEWS.

The ban will apply to “neighborhoods that have been most affected as soon as we have knowledge of” the “ultras.”

“I am thinking of course the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the place Pey-Berland in Bordeaux, the Capitol Square in Toulouse”, Philippe added, where “we will proceed to the immediate dispersal of all groups.”

Philippe added that he has asked the State Judicial Agent to “systematically seek the financial responsibility of troublemakers.”

Yellow Vests Turn Violent Again, Cars Torched, buildings Vandalised As Macron’s ‘Great Debate’ Ends

After several weeks of largely peaceful protests, with no reports of significant violence during weekend 13, 14 and 15, France’s Yellow Vests are back in full swing on weekend 16, following the end of President Macron’s unsuccessful ‘great debate’ – during which thousands of local meetings were conducted over a two-month period in the hopes of solving national issues through citizen debates.  Unfortunately the tone of the meetings was patronising and condescending to people who attended, with officials taking the line that ordinary people were not well enough informed on matters of economics and international relations to understand President Macron’s programme for transforming France.

Unfortunately after Macron signed the treaty of Aachen with Germany’s Angela Merkel, a committment to further integrate the two nations economically and politically, some people suggested, a tad unkindly perhaps, that Macron was simply rebooting Vichy France, the government of collaborator Marshal Petain during the Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1944.

Up to half-a-million people participated in 10,000 meetings across the country to discuss social issues ranging from taxes – which the French pay the most of any OECD country in the world, to immigration, surrender of national sovereignty to the EU, the state of French democracy and climate change.

“We have been patient but now we want results,” Yellow Vest Laurent Casanova told press agency AFP.

With no meaningful changes yet apparent or on offer after twelve weeks of nationwide cathartic venting which began in November 2018, the Yellow Vests are now back to angry demonstrations as the protests kick off their 16th week with an ‘ultimatum’ rally – marked by lootings, fires, and mayhem that organizers maintain are due to a radical minority.

Some protesters attempted to erect barricades to block streets around Place Charles de Gaulle – prompting the police to respond with water cannon, tear gas and other riot control techniques.

Vehicles were set on fire according to AP as the demonstration turned into yet another riot, and the lootings began. Shop windows were mashed and furniture broken. Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

Wooden boards nailed over the windows of iconic stores such as Boss and Lacoste in the most fashionable street in Paris were ripped off and thrown onto burning heaps as looters emerged, arms laden with stolen clothes, some of which were used to fuel the flames.

Cafe tables and chairs also ended up on the fire and the famous Fouquet’s brasserie — favorite locale of the rich and famous, including ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy who controversially used it to celebrate his 2007 election — was also sacked in an orgy of anti-capitalist destruction.

“It’s unfortunate but this is the only way we can make ourselves heard,” a yellow vested protestor who traveled from the southeastern Bourgogne region for the protest, billed as an “ultimatum” to Macron, said as he looked on.

The police, having erected a ring of steel around the Arc de Triomphe, battled for over seven hours to disperse the protesters, using copious amounts of tear gas, stun grenades, and water cannon.

But for most of the day the protesters, who waved French as well as regional flags and chanted “Macron resign”, held the famous avenue which was shrouded in smoke and teargas.

“It’s the apocalypse!,” one demonstrator shouted with glee.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe vowed to “severely punish” the radicals responsible for rioting and setting fires around one of France’s richest neighbourhoods.

Philippe visited the Champs-Elysees on Saturday to show his support for riot police and firefighters struggling to get the unrest under control after it broke out amid yellow vest protests.

He estimated up to a few thousand troublemakers were responsible for Saturday’s “unacceptable” violence. Speaking to reporters, he praised firefighters who saved people trapped in a building set fire by protesters.

Saturday’s riots were so severe that President Macron had to cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

 

In December, Macron attempted to assuage angry protesters with 10 billion ($11.2 billion) in tax cuts and other benefits for low-wage pensioners, but nobody believed he intended to turn promises into action.