French “Yellow Vest” Protests Escalate


Molly Roche

When you go to a gas station in France, it is very similar to that of the United States, but you will find a few key differences. To start, you will find that gas is purchased by the liter, not in gallons as it is here. Perhaps the most significant difference you will see is the price; gas in France is almost two times the amount we pay here. The typical cost for fuel (converted to U.S. dollars per gallon) is $6.97 compared to the average $2.54 we pay here.

After a proposal for higher fuel taxes in France was made public, the frustration of French citizens quickly escalated into protests and riots in the streets of France.

The proposal has since been taken off the table but as some say, “it’s not about the butter,” meaning the protests started in response to the proposal for higher fuel taxes but it has since developed another impetus.

Additionally, in France it is required by law that every vehicle contain a high-visibility yellow jacket so passing drivers can see you in the event you have car problems on the road.

To further express their frustration towards the laws they must abide by, the protesters wore the yellow jackets required to be in their cars, dubbing their demonstrations the “yellow-vest” protests.

According to BBC, on Saturday December 8th, nearly 125,000 protesters took to the streets and more than 1,200 were taken into custody. Paris was hit especially hard and an estimated 10,000 protesters smashed windows, burned cars, and ransacked local shops.

A freshman at the American University in Paris, Nina Braquet, has seen these demonstrations first hand and offered to share her experience.

Nina first expressed how much these events have consumed everyone in the area and went on to say that she is lucky to live in a safe area that has not been near any of the violent protests. “There has been tear gas that directly effected pedestrians, some of my friends have been gassed on their way home. It is really a nightmare,” she adds, “personally, I sympathize with the [protesters] and their fight but I am completely mortified with the casseurs as is most of Paris is at this point.”

The French government has a lot to review and take care of in terms of getting these protesters under control and beginning to make reparations for the damage done.