3 December 2018
Making sense of the French fuel riots by the 'gilets jaunes' has been a confusing exercise.
It is doubtful that genuine motorists were leading the riots as road cobbles were being ripped up and multiple expensive cars and motorbikes were torched road-side by rioting fuel protesters. The BBC reported that hundreds were injured, three deaths occurred, and absurdly one driver died caught up in an incident at a protesters’ blockade in Arles.
With estimates of around 80% of France supporting the demonstrators (and not the rioters) you might ask what hope is there for a Green movement inside France?
Paddle across the channel from France in a sea worthy boat (this image has nothing to do with the appalling remark made by Caroline Nokes MP, who joked in Cabinet that any 'fragile rafts' were promptly dealt with by our UK border force) and you’d find in London a very different ‘demo experience’. Here, newly grouped Extinction Rebellion mounted successful events that were well attended and, bar around fifteen arrests, were mainly happy events that succeeded in their intention to create a festival atmosphere.
Protest organiser Ronan McNern explained that the protests were to slow things down and stop economic activity within the city. The Police had been informed of their plans and the protesters were happy to abandon any part of the demonstrations so emergency vehicles were not hampered.
Meanwhile back in France, the rioters (over 400 of them arrested) have caused so much disorder that President Macron is considering imposing a state of emergency. The Yellow Vests achieved similar economic disruption as the London demonstrators,however, the forward thinking environmental movement will be remembered for their intentions to be peaceful and have respect for the lives of others.