Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and his coalition partner have announced their support for France's Yellow Vest movement, accusing French President Emmanuel Macron of being "against his people."
"I support honest citizens protesting against a president who governs against his people," Salvini said in a statement - while at the same time "firmly" condemning protesters who have resorted to violence.
Meanwhile, Luigi Di Maio, the 32-year-old Deputy Prime MInister of Italy who leads the Five-Star Movement (M5S), has told the Yellow Vests in a Monday blog post "do not give up!" De Maio offered French protesters use of the M5S "Rousseau platform" to help the Yellow Vests improve organization and "draw up an electoral programme," according to France24.
"This system (Rousseau) is made for a horizontal and spontaneous movement such as yours and we would be happy if you want to use it."
The 5 Star Movement is ready to give you the support you need. Like you, we too strongly condemn those who caused violence during the demonstrations, but we know that your movement is peaceful . We can put at your disposal some functions of our operative system for direct democracy, Rousseau , for example call to action to organize the events on the territory or the voting system to define the electoral program and choose the candidates to be presented in the elections. It 'a system designed for a horizontal and spontaneous movement like yours and we would be happy if you wanted to use it. -Il Blog delle Stelle (translated)
In Francia, come in Italia, la politica è diventata sorda alle esigenze dei cittadini, tenuti fuori dalle decisioni più importanti che riguardano il popolo. Il grido che si alza forte dalle piazze francesi è uno: “fateci partecipare!”. https://t.co/cBJvUwEk5s— Luigi Di Maio (@luigidimaio) January 7, 2019
Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail reports that Macron's tough stance on the Yellow Vest movement has backfired, as French authorities struggle to maintain order.
What began as a grassroots rebellion against diesel taxes and the high cost of living has morphed into something more perilous for Macron - an assault on his presidency and French institutions.
The anti-government protesters on Saturday used a forklift truck to force their way into a government ministry compound, torched cars near the Champs Elysees and in one violent skirmish on a bridge over the Seine punched and kicked riot police officers to the ground. -The Globe and Mail
Macron tweeted over the weekend "Once again, the Republic was attacked with extreme violence - its guardians, its representatives, its symbols."
Une fois encore, une extrême violence est venue attaquer la République - ses gardiens, ses représentants, ses symboles. Ceux qui commettent ces actes oublient le cœur de notre pacte civique. Justice sera faite. Chacun doit se ressaisir pour faire advenir le débat et le dialogue.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 5, 2019
The French President took advantage of the holidays to try and crack down on the Yellow Vest movement - however it was back with a vengeance after the New Year.
And on Monday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that France would clamp down on unauthorized protests, stating "Following unacceptable violence across France, the government plans to respond decisively." Philippe told LE20H television that anyone who organizes a protest without declaring it first will face harsh punishment.
Vous êtes organisateur d’une manifestation : vous devez la déclarer. Il faut préserver la liberté de manifester en France et il faut sanctionner ceux qui ne respectent pas cette obligation simple. #Le20H pic.twitter.com/6acPjEq7ta— Edouard Philippe (@EPhilippePM) January 7, 2019
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Friday that the government would not cease its efforts to reshape the economy, and branded protesters agitators seeking to overthrow the Macron administration. Twenty-four hours later, Griveaux was fleeing out of the back door of his office as protesters invaded the courtyard and destroyed several cars.
"It wasn’t me who was attacked," he said later. "It was the Republic."
Meanwhile, the "Republic" is crushing its citizens under the weight of the highest taxes in the world - which has fueled unrest and anger, particularly among France's blue-collar workers whose incomes have been squeezed by a bevy of government taxes.
It was this anger that culminated in the Yellow Vest movement, which began with blocking roads, occupying highway tollbooths - and eventually morphing into violent protests across the entire country (and beyond).