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The popular riot that brought France into chaos

High tension because of the 'gilet jaunes' deployed against Macron: protests, violence and Ligue 1 delay

The popular riot that brought France into chaos High tension because of the 'gilet jaunes' deployed against Macron: protests, violence and Ligue 1 delay

"It's the people, very simply it's the people. Without any political opinion. We are here on the streets in solidarity with each other. [...] We seem to have recovered our humanity, each one puts aside their differences. We are the French people, nothing else. "

These are the words of Jimmy Moreno, filmed by VICE News on the streets of Paris. Jimmy does not live in the capital, is an employee of the railways and while the camera records him, as well as all the people around him, he wears a yellow gilet - the garment that gave the name to the protest we are witnessing in the latter days. Anger arose primarily from the increase in taxes on diesel fuel, but that broke out like a fire in a few days, until arriving to demand the resignation of President Macron and to lock several cities, also causing the closure of banks, shops, schools, famous places like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, consequently also the postponement of many matches of Ligue 1.

The theater of the fierce protests that led to hundreds of arrests, serious injuries and even a count, at the time, of three deaths, is France and its most important urban centers but primarily its capital. As the words of a spokesman for the gilet jaunes reported by the New York Times explain:

“It's the provinces against Paris, the proud and disdainful capital. Paris has never been so different than the rest of the country. The fracture is very, very deep."

It is no coincidence that the spark of the protest was the tax on diesel fuel, which affects those who live around the city (usually because they can not afford to live there) and who for work are forced to travel by car. It has held very little the ecological motivation, which although theoretically sensible is the demonstration of a total detachment from reality, of the incapacity to understand the situation not only of the poorer classes, but also and above all the middle ones, which in fact are the the beating heart of the protest. No one expected such a reaction, as demonstrated by the inadequacy of Macron's reaction, first by authoritative and contemptuous tones - which raised the level of violence in the streets and made the protest of his protest corrected - and soon afterwards to the point of blocking the tax in question, although it had already gone much further than that. The French president found himself unprepared also because for now there is not a defined political nemesis to be accused or to fight, but hundreds of thousands of people with very different social, political and working extractions who spontaneously joined and passed the own differences to protest. The New York Times in this piece states as:

"At least so far, the French movement remains relatively unstructured. It must still be 'hijacked' by the far-right nationalists of Marine Le Pen, or the far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who might try to claim their values ​​and paternity."

As Mattia Galeotti writes on Not:

"On Saturday, the Paris Saint-Germain championship match was postponed, the government decided it could not even waste a police unit on other events.”

After this first case, six matches of the seventeenth gameweek of Ligue 1 were actually cancelled: after PSG-Montpellier and Toulouse-Lyon, also Monaco-Nice, Saint Etienne-Marseille, Nimes-Nantes and Angers-Bordeaux. The observation of Galeotti remains valid, that is, that the situation is getting worse and so fast, that in six different cities the decision was to not be able to use the police in any way for anything that was not controlled the situation during the weekend.

In Paris Saint Germain we can find everything that the French are protesting about - in a sense, the characteristics that make Paris the center of protest are in common with its football team. A few months ago we talked about how PSG has transcended football team status and treated itself as a real brand, in line with global brands like Supreme, and that hype culture that basically aims to make the experience of buying products as something extremely exclusive and inaccessible to most - just think of the way in which the Supreme store is conceived: both as regards the economic aspect that the accessibility to the product or the simple practicality and purchase methods. A world for the few, dominated by needs and economic logic that have no regard for those who should take advantage. Another striking example is the increasing price of the tickets, which from year to year excludes a wider and wider audience from the possibility of watching the match of their team.

Pushing itself into a metaphor not so risky, the PSG game will also have been postponed, but the streets of Paris and France are right now like the stands of a stadium: populated by people of all social, economic and political backgrounds; all united by a common goal that makes homogeneous words and voices that rise from the crowd, whether they are the curves, the distinguished ones or the tribunes: which make us forget the differences, uniting all towards a single and shared purpose.