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All day long Emmanuel Macron skulked behind the majestic walls of his presidential palace while outside, his city – and his country – once again erupted in fury.
Not only was the Elysee Palace guarded by hundreds of riot police but also armoured cars bearing machine guns and grenade launchers. Excessive perhaps, but few who spent any time in Paris yesterday would doubt that but for this formidable ring of steel, the mob would have surely tried to storm inside.
Day - Reckoning - Day - Insurrection - Time
It was a day of reckoning, a day of insurrection. And this time the revolutionary spirit was catching. There were also disturbances in Marseilles, France’s second city, and in Brussels.
In Paris, around mid-morning, three tear-gas capsules rolled to a halt at the feet of a group of ‘yellow vest’ protesters milling outside the Flora Danica brasserie on the Champs-Elysees. The men appeared to scarcely register this attempt to disperse them. A few peeled away, not with any sense of urgency, but with determined insouciance, as if running would show weakness. Eventually, someone picked up the canister and tossed it back at police.
Boulevard - Breeze - Smoke - Trees - Christmas
Another was booted away and, as it spun down the boulevard, a light breeze caught the smoke, lifting it above the trees festooned with Christmas lights. ‘Take that, Macron,’ cried one protester.
The yellow vests were originally worn by workers upset about petrol tax increases, declining living standards and diminished rights. But their protest has since swelled into a massive, amorphous rebellion. The demands of interest groups vary but all are united in wanting both Mr Macron’s resignation and an emergency election.
Protesters - Government - Fuel - Tax - Increases
It seemed to matter not to protesters that the government promised to suspend fuel tax increases for at least six months to defuse the rioting – the first U-turn by Macron since he came to power in 2017.
Then, he saved France...
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