Over the weekend, violence broke out in France, with more than 280,000 protesters fanning out across the country in what is known as the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement. What started as a reaction against a hike in the country’s gasoline tax has metastasized into something uglier. More than 400 people have been injured across some 2,000 rallies, and one person was killed after being run over by a car. In CityLab, Feargus O’Sullivan attempts to describe a rather amorphous protest: Unusually, the Yellow Vests is a grassroots mass protest movement with no explicit wider political agenda or links to existing groups. Having organized themselves via social media since May (when the movement was sparked by an online petition), the Yellow Vests have arrived somewhat out of the blue. There is also no clear media consensus as to what they are protesting beyond the cost of gas. To some observers, the protesters are primarily angry about what they see as President Emmanuel Macron’s apparent indifference toward tough conditions for working people. To others, the movement is evidence of a middle-class backlash. Meanwhile, it’s not automatically easy to say whether the protest cleaves more to the left or the right. What… Read full this story
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