Tag: protests

Hong Kong Protests Continue Despite Countless Arrests

Peyton Gouzien | @PGouzien

In response to recent protests in Hong Kong, Police have arrested several protesters. This comes after both the local government and the government in Beijing condemned the young protesters who stormed the legislature. Despite countless arrests, protests continue. Officials in the local government worry that the arrests could cause the protests to grow more violent.

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The Yellow Vests Invade May Day in Paris

Ryan Lau | @RyanLau71R

For nearly six months now, protest movement “the yellow vests” (les gilets jaunes) has been taking to the streets in Paris, throughout France, and into other European countries. Through both peaceful and violent means, they have rallied against the unpopular regime of French president Emmanuel Macron.

The government has retaliated, killing at least 15 total civilians (12 in France, three in Belgium). They also have arrested and injured thousands. However, the protest group has gotten the French government to make a number of concessions. After peaking at a 72% approval rate, twice that of Macron, they have pressured the government to remove an infamous gas tax hike and promise an increase to the minimum wage. But the yellow vests have not stopped, finding new allies on Wednesday.

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Laura Loomer Leads Yellow Vests Against Pelosi

James Sweet III | United States

Laura Loomer, a self-described conservative activist that is permanently banned from Twitter, lead a protest against Speaker Nancy Pelosi on January 14th. Fellow protesters donned the yellow vests that became an icon following the mass riots and protests that occurred in France. Will Johnson of Unite America First, a conservative organization that supports President Trump and his policies, was also present.

The protest occurred at Pelosi’s mansion lawn, where Loomer and her fellow protesters brought along illegal immigrants and set up a sanctuary for them. The protesters carried pictures of Americans who were killed by immigrants that entered the country. Loomer then attempted to enter Pelosi’s house but was stopped by locked doors.

This is not the first time that Loomer has protested against what can be labeled as leftist policy decisions. Loomer, after being banned on Twitter, chained herself to the doors of Twitter’s HQ. She also brought a poster that showed the tweet that got her banned, as well as another tweet that displayed blatant anti-Semitic rhetoric yet never got taken down.

Loomer was approached by police and was asked to show her identification, but she refused, stating, “Gavin Newsom said we don’t need ID’s.” The alleged illegal immigrants that she brought along could not provide ID. She was removed from Pelosi’s property, but no arrests were made at the scene of the protest. The live stream of the event ended with the protesters talking about donating to Loomer. She stated that she needs money or else she will not be able to provide for herself.

The presence of illegal immigrants has led to Speaker Pelosi calling to speak them, which, hopefully, will open up dialogue over the issue between conservatives and liberals.


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Poll: 72% of the French Support “Les Gilets Jaunes”

By Ryan Lau and Mason Mohon | @agorisms  @mohonofficial

After recent spikes in gas taxes, the French have taken to the streets. A protest on Sunday in Paris resulted in considerable property damage, 133 injuries, and over 400 arrests. This was the result of “Les Gilets Jaunes” (The Yellow Vests) movement – anti-tax protestors upset that the new year will add another 12 cents to the gas tax.

NBC reports:

Around 280,000 protested in the streets across the country that day, with 106,000 people attending rallies on Saturday, according to French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

A Hurried Shift in Approval

The movement is big, with 72% of French citizens polled supporting them, according to a Harris Interactive poll. This dwarfs Macron’s approval rating of 26%. These support demographics have changed greatly over the past year. In May of 2017, Macron won two-thirds of French votes in a run-off election against far-right opponent Marine Le Pen. In that race, he secured a majority in 94 out of 96 French Departments.

But in just 18 short months, everything has changed. Macron’s approval has dropped steadily, now nearing the levels of the previous president, widely unpopular François Hollande, who left office with 21% approval. Several factors play into this drastic decline.

Last summer, a crisis broke about Macron’s deputy chief of staff, Alexandre Benalla. According to a video from Le Monde, Benalla took a riot helmet, impersonated a police officer, and proceeded to beat up two May Day protestors. Even after the story went public, however, the man only received a two-week suspension. Macron later took responsibility for the incident and then fired Benalla on semi-related terms. But, the deed was done, and his favorability reacted accordingly.

Criticism Left and Right

Moreover, many French citizens are at odds with some of his economic policies. In September, the president told an unemployed man that he could easily get a job if he wanted. Not long after, many denounced his economic practices as only benefitting the rich. Also, he has received backlash from the left for plans to cut social spending.

On the other hand, the right has also given him considerable disapproval as well. In an article by The Guardian, several Gilets Jaunes spoke out about their protests. One stated that of €40,000 that an aunt had left behind after passing, the French state took 60% of it. Several others mentioned the steadily increasing gas tax as a means of harming the working class. One even went so far as to call his support for ecology “a pretext to make us pay more tax”.

The European Spring

Les Gilet Jaunes are leading the European Spring, some of the most widespread riots France has seen in years. After the first, many more followed, until protestors spanned the entire country. These protests together bear striking similarities to the Arab Spring of 2010. Both began in one, relatively small location, but spread internationally. The Arab Spring, over time, led to serious reforms among several Arab nations, including Egypt and Tunisia.

The European Spring, after small beginnings in Paris, has now expanded internationally. In just one short week, protests have erupted in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria, and the Italian border. Of course, this movement is still in its infancy, and thus, considerable change has not yet occurred. It also appears to be without a leader, which may make it more difficult for Les Gilets Jaunes to see their change come into action.

Many people have taken to Twitter to detail some of the events of the protests. Currently, reactions outside of France are limited, but a number of French citizens have nonetheless produced video evidence of mistreatment by police.

https://twitter.com/Jordan_SP1/status/1069610037935509504

Some, including the self-proclaimed speaker of Les Gilets Jaunes, have even called for a declaration of martial law. However, the movement, as stated previously, is very decentralized. For this reason, it is impossible to determine whether this sentiment reflects the opinion of the movement as a whole. Regardless, it appears that the European Spring is full of bold protestors who are here to stay.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

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BREAKING: French Government Opens Fire on Tax Protesters

By Indri Schaelicke and Ryan Lau | United States

Videos and images circulating on Twitter Sunday night appear to show the French government snipers shooting protesters. There is currently confusion over whether the bullets fired are made of rubber or are real bullets. Regardless, many citizens are coming away with serious injuries.

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