By Matt Agorist
Paris, France — A grassroots movement made up of citizens who have become fed up with the political establishment in France has been growing since early November and it has come to a head this week. The movement, known as “gilets jaunes” or “yellow vests” began as an anti-tax protest but has since merged folks from the left and the right into a much broader anti-government protest.
French citizens have used the yellow vests that their government requires they carry in their vehicles as a symbol of this protest. As the Guardian points out, unlike previous French protest movements, it sprang up online through petitions and was organised by ordinary working people posting videos on social media, without a set leader, trade union or political party behind it.
Over the weekend, roughly 100,000 citizens took to the streets of Paris. Most of these protesters were peaceful, however, some of extremists from the far left and far right engaged in violence against police, smashed out windows, and set fire to cars.
Of those arrested for violence, the majority of them were “professional” rioters who had come from outside Paris to infiltrate the peaceful demonstrations, according to Paris prosecutors.
Despite this violence, many of the police officers in France understood the anger coming from the citizens. Instead of clashing with the peaceful protesters, many of the officers were seen joining them in solidarity.
In at least two different cases, police were seen on video removing their helmets to show the people that they were on their side.
A group of French police officers remove their helmets to show solidarity with the French people against President Emmanuel Macron, as anti Macron protests continue throughout France. #GiletsJaunes
In both cases the protesters erupted with applause and began singing La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France.