France braces for more protests

The revolt of the Yellow Vests continues this weekend:

France was in lockdown early on Saturday with thousands of French security forces braced to meet renewed rioting by “yellow vest” protesters in the capital and other cities in a fourth weekend of confrontation over living costs.

The Eiffel Tower and other tourist landmarks were shut, shops were boarded up to avoid looting and street furniture removed to avoid metal bars from being used as projectiles.

About 89,000 police were deployed across the country.

Of these, about 8,000 were deployed in Paris to avoid a repeat of last Saturday’s mayhem when rioters torched cars and looted shops off the famed Champs Elysees boulevard, and defaced the Arc de Triomphe with graffiti directed at President Emmanuel Macron.

Protesters, using social media, have billed the weekend as “Act IV” in a dramatic challenge to Macron and his policies.

Clearly this is about much more than fuel taxes. What do they actually want? Here’s a clue:

From Stanley Pignal of The Economist:

@spignal

A new “unofficial” list of Gilet Jaunes demands here:
– cut taxes to 25% of GDP (so half current levels)
– better public services/massive hiring of civil servants
– Leave EU & NATO
– Default on public debt
– New constitution
– less immigration
– Scrap CFA Franc in W Africa (??)

3:33 AM – 7 Dec 2018

Anti-government protests in Romania

Large protests in Bucharest, calling for the resignation of the Romanian government, end in violence:

For three days in a row, throngs of protesters took to the streets in Romania’s capital city, Bucharest, to protest what they see as a corrupt government and to call for new elections.

Tens of thousands of people rallied Friday on the first day of demonstrations, which were largely organized by Romanian expatriates who came home to demonstrate en masse; some estimates put the crowd at 100,000.

It ended in violence. Romania Insider reports that on Friday night, some aggressive protesters, possibly football hooligans, began clashing with police. (Football hooligans frequently appear at political protests in Romania.) In response, riot police reportedly fired tear gas, smoke grenades and a water cannon into the crowd at Victoriei Square in Bucharest, which also included many peaceful protesters.

The police used “unprecedented violence” to clear the square, Romania Insider writes. Hundreds of people were said to have been injured.

But the protesters were undeterred, returning on Saturday and again on Sunday.

Rallies in Bucharest and other major Romanian cities were peaceful on Sunday, Reuters reports.

The Social Democratic Party has governed Romania since 2016.