Is this why French President Emmanuel Macron wants to build a new European army?
As the youngest French leader since Napoleon watches his popularity sink ever-closer to single-digit territory, the French people, who are increasingly fed up with the endless stream of gaffes, scandals and poor policy choices are rapidly getting fed up. In the latest expression of public outrage to rock the republic, one person has died and more than 200 people were injured during protests that involved some 282,000 people flooding the streets throughout France according to the French interior ministry to protest Macron's controversial decision to hike fuel taxes.
According to RT, French police used tear gas to stop demonstrators on the Champs-Elysees. Beginning in the early hours of Saturday, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to express their grievances about the government's decision to raise taxes on fuel. The protesters blocked roads, disrupted traffic and blocked access to gas stations.
Most of them are wearing yellow vests – the symbol of a popular movement and umbrella organization behind the protests.
C est vrai que les accidents de chasse sont nombreux et qu il est prudent de se signaler quand on se balade mais en ville les gars il y moins de risque !!! 😂 #GiletsJaunes #sansmoile17novembre pic.twitter.com/xWP6oeSerU— ross76 (@edstertwit76) November 17, 2018
Police tried to contain the protest by cordoning off some roads in Paris, but the crush of people kept coming. "Gasoline prices never stop rising. It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Macron and his buddies just let… things go from bad to worse," one protester said.
At one point, more than 1,000 protesters pushed their way to the French president's palace chanting "Macron resign!" They were later dispersed with tear gas.
An attempted sit-in in the vicinity of the Elysee Palace escalated into a heated confrontation between protesters and police.
Both small roads and highways were blocked by protesters across France.
All told, 282,710 people participated in some 2,000 rallies across France, according to data released by the Interior Ministry. French media described the protests as "unprecedented." In many places, road blocks led to serious traffic jams.
Some demonstrators could be seen burning tires and setting up barricades, leading to heated confrontations with motorists.
With more than 225 people injured during the protest - six critically - one protester died in a road accident in Pont-de-Beauvoisin when a panicked female driver ran over the victim after protesters surrounded her car.
#France The #GiletsJaunes people are nothing else than militias encouraged by the far right and the far left to prevent citizens from going to work. Populism have reached another level. Hold tight @EmmanuelMacron #SansMoiLe17 pic.twitter.com/4ERPtg0FI6— Richard L. Senneville (@RichyNYC) November 17, 2018
The only thing missing from the government's response to Saturday's protest was Macron's former body guard, who infamously beat up a student protester at a rally earlier this year. He was initially let off with a brief suspension before Macron fired him in the face of a growing public backlash. Meanwhile, the popularity of Macron's electoral opponents, the National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen, continues to grow, with some polls showing her party leading Macron's for the first time.