Advertisement

Trump gloats as French police battle latest Paris protests

The US president says -- falsely -- that French protesters were chanting "We Want Trump!"

PARIS, France -- The French capital was rocked by a fourth straight weekend of protests, as President Trump mocked the US ally on Twitter. CREDIT: Chesnot/Getty Images
PARIS, France -- The French capital was rocked by a fourth straight weekend of protests, as President Trump mocked the US ally on Twitter. CREDIT: Chesnot/Getty Images

Paris was convulsed by a fourth straight weekend of violent protests on Saturday, as thousands of “yellow vest” demonstrators, enraged over rising taxes and a falling standard of living, clashed with riot police.

As ThinkProgress reported, the protests have been the most violent in France since the 1968 student uprising a half-century ago.

The US president saw fit to gloat on Twitter about the domestic unrest faced by America’s oldest ally, and even fabricated pro-Trump chanting by the demonstrators, who he insisted were chanting “We Want Trump!” as they tore apart the French capital.

As Media Matters and other news outlets explained, reports that Trump’s name was being chanted were circulated by supporters of the far right QAnon conspiracy theory group. QAnon traffics in the discredited notion that “deep state” political opponents are seeking to undermine and even overthrow the president.

Trump rubbed salt into the wounds of America’s French allies with a second tweet later on Saturday.

Police were outmatched by demonstrators in earlier protests, but some 8,000 heavily armed police were ready for the latest standoff Saturday, deploying tear gas and stun grenades to try to halt their advance. Hundreds of people were arrested.

Advertisement

France’s President Emmanuel Macron backed down earlier this week, on his plans to impose fuel tax hikes, after three weekends of protests in Paris led to four deaths and millions of dollars in damage that were particularly devastating in the city’s tony shopping district near the Champs Elysees.

The protest of “gilets jaunes,” or yellow vests, named for the reflective safety garb worn by many participants, shows the widespread societal disenchantment with the declining standard of living in France. But authorities say the yellow vest demonstrations have been hijacked by “ultraviolent” protesters who see the clashes as a kind of sport.

Officials said about 31,000 people across the country are taking part in Saturday’s protests, including about 8,000 demonstrators in Paris. More than 400 protesters were arrested in last weekend’s clashes in the French capital.