Can the Notre-Dame fire freeze the ‘Yellow Vests’ uprising?

Yellow Vests in action. Central Paris. Photo by Norbu Gyachung on Unsplash

Can the fire that partially destroyed Notre-Dame act as a game changer in the French socio-political scene? Probably yes, but let’s see to the forces in motion, the national grief and the anger of the left behind. Luckily on the Seine river islet, in the heart of Paris, the eight hundred year monument still stands.

It’s the apex of the Gothic ecclesiastical architecture in Europe and has become a rock-solid reference for the entire European civilization. For the French people, despite their traditional resistance to religion, Notre-Dame acts as a symbol of their high spirituality and confirms the nation’s sense of being the European protagonists.

Notre-Dame is located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, named after the Latin speaking scholars who flocked there from all over Europe in the medieval times. In the modern era, the Latin Quarter attracted colossal literature figures like Ernest Hemingway and painters like Picasso, confirming the title of Paris as the ‘City of Light’.
Notre-Dame and the near neighborhood have been the solid base for the emergence of Paris as the avant garde of the western civilization from the medieval times onwards. The ‘Enlightenment’ of Europe took place just there.

What about today?

The special position of Notre-Dame in the French psyche, may then turn the latest martyrdom of the monument into a socio-political game changer. It may decisively touch on the country’s directions and even her position in Europe. President Emmanuel Macron sensed that right away.

In his address to the nation after the fire he avoided his usual references about reuniting the European Union. It was France and Notre-Dame all the way. Macron’s skillful handling of the whole affair catapulted his popularity to levels prior to last November, when the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement erupted. The same polls gave a 54% response against the movement which ‘must now be put on hold’ as worded in the poll.

It wasn’t though. Last Saturday, in the major French cities some 10,000 protesters continued their rallies for the 24th weekend. The government mobilized 60,000 police to confront them. More than one hundred citizens were arrested and grave injuries were reported. To be reminded, the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement started in the suburbs of the major cities, after an increase of taxes on fuel. It developed into the regular Saturdays’ nationwide protests, but lately has lost its initial vigor.

Macron’s chance

By a telling coincidence, Macron was supposed to deliver a speech to the nation with more concessions for the poorer households, just when the Notre-Dame fire erupted. Some weeks ago, he withdrew the tax increases on fuel. According to press reports, this Thursday, Macron is expected to address the nation once more, announcing more measures in favor of the less privileged.

Last Saturday, though, protesters held banners saying “Millions for Notre-Dame, what about for us, the poor?” This was in reference to the avalanche of donations to the tune of €1 billion from some immensely rich French to rebuild Notre–Dame.

Tax reductions

It remains to be seen, then, if some more tax concessions for the less privileged will allow Macron to continue with his neo-liberal economic reforms. This program has met nationwide opposition which was triggered last November by the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement, engulfing at the time around 60% of the population.

The concessions that Macron now plans to announce are tailored to confront and possibly overturn exactly the socio-political situation that the ‘Yellow Vests’ movement has created. His tacit handling of the Notre-Dame catastrophe may help him in this direction.

In times of national catastrophes societies tend to support the government. At the moment Macron counts on that.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief urges peaceful, free and fair elections in Cameroon

The race for Driverless vehicles: where is the industry heading?

Cybersecurity: agreement reached on better protection for citizens and companies

Three steps we must take to secure the future of our forests

Eurozone’s bank resolution mechanism takes a blow

3 things you need to know about securing a blockchain

Autonomous vehicles could clog city centres: a lesson from Boston

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

Trade surplus up production down in Eurozone

This is what Belgium’s traffic-choked capital is doing about emissions

Is poor generational intelligence holding you back at work?

The EU-US trade agreement, victim of right-wing extremists and security lunatics

UN rights chief ‘alarmed’ by upsurge in attacks against civilians in Syria’s Idlib

Parliament approves €34m in EU aid to Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria

Germany not famous for easy way outs from political stalemates

Everything you need to know about water

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

EU tourism industry expects a new record year in 2014

Pakistan: UN Security Council condemns ‘heinous and cowardly’ terrorist attacks

EU elections: Can EU citizens’ awareness eradicate fake news more efficiently than Facebook, Twitter and Google?

Brexit update: Will Theresa May’s last-minute desperate efforts procrastinate Brexit?

EU Youth Goals – we are shapers not listeners

Trump’s Syrian hit the softest option vis-a-vis Russia

UN working with both sides, after hidden tunnels confirmed along Lebanon-Israel ‘Blue Line’

8 amazing facts to help you understand China today

South Africa still hasn’t won LGBTQ+ equality. Here are 5 reasons why

UN genocide adviser welcomes historic conviction of former Khmer Rouge leaders

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

European Council: Choosing new leaders for the EU betrays efforts for a wider arrangement

These refugee children have danced in the snow for the first time

Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

The vegan economy is booming – and Big Food wants a slice of it

Evidence shows ‘brutal’ killing of Saudi journalist ‘planned and perpetrated’ by State officials: UN independent expert

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

UN cooperation with League of Arab States ‘pivotal’, UN chief tells Security Council

From rescue animals to electric buses, California is introducing bold new rules

Why are the financial markets shivering again?

5 ways to fast-track the transition to a carbon neutral world

The succesful cooperation

Trump wants to implicate China in US attacks against global order

The US is withdrawing from a 144-year-old treaty. Here’s the context

Chart of the day: These are the cities where the World Cup threatens productivity the most

Universal access to energy is a major challenge for the Arab world. Here’s why

FROM THE FIELD: Faces and Voices of Conflict

EU readies for eventual annulment of the Turkish agreement on immigrants-refugees

Brexit is happening now but the UK hasn’t really assessed the impact of a “no-deal” divorce

Financial abuse of elderly ‘rampant, but invisible’, says UN expert

EU free-trade agreements with Canada and US: imagine the fallout if put to national referendums

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

Ditching plastic straws isn’t enough. Here’s how to achieve zero waste.

Norway initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

Poverty and social exclusion skyrocket with austerity

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

JADE visits Lithuanian Junior Initiatives

6th Edition of India m2m + iot Forum to open its door on 14th January, in association with The European Sting

Global warming: our responsibility

Data is the oil of the digital world. What if tech giants had to buy it from us?

Eurozone: Avoiding a new Greek accident

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s