Paris On 'Lockdown': Yellow vest anti-tax revolt spreads to Netherlands, Belgium
Paris is saturated with police right now in an effort to counter the weekend influx of yellow vest protesters. Skirmishes have flared up and teargas and water canons have been deployed. President Macron has hidden from the spotlight (mostly) with his deputies handling the public communication role for the time being. It has become a full blown crisis for the president. And it happened fast.
The protesters began to assemble before dawn, with demonstrators waving French flags and wearing the movement's signature high-visibility vests gathering near the Arc de Triomphe, which was damaged in last week's rioting.
Others lined up for police searches and bag checks throughout central Paris.
Rows of riot police blocked the demonstrators' passage down the Champs-Elysees toward the heart of presidential power, firing tear gas and pushing them back with shields.
A ring of steel surrounds the Elysee Palace itself as police stationed trucks and reinforced steel barriers in streets throughout the neighborhood.
It is interesting that the media is currently fretting over the fact that the yellow vests have no leaders. There is no one with whom to negotiate. How is the violence and unrest quelled if there is no one to take charge of the movement? What is Macron to do with such an amorphous opposition?
And the protests have spread. Now yellow vests are popping up in Holland, and Brussels the cradle of the European Union experiment.
“Our children are hard-working people but they have to pay taxes everywhere. You can’t get housing anymore. It is not going well in Dutch society,” Ieneke said. “The social welfare net we grew up with is gone,” she said.
“The government is not there for the people. It is there to protect its own interests,” she said.
This is the nature of government. The welfare state has morphed (predictably) into a crony capitalist state where those in government and those attached to the government exploit the private productive class, the people who pay taxes. People are tired. People in Europe are starting to see the government as many American taxpayers do, a black hole into which our taxes, our incomes, are tossed with very little return. Indeed the government often works against the interests of the citizenry which pays for the government in the first place.
For many years middle class people have been quiet. They have pushed on as they've been pushed around. As taxes have gone up the middle class grumbled but carried on as it always has. Now however people are starting to ask why they must pay so much, indeed lower their standard of living, just so the crony system headed by Davos Men can enrich itself. How does that make sense?