In 1862, Victor Hugo wrote “Every man who has in his soul a secret feeling of revolt against any act of the State, of life, or of destiny, is on the verge of riot; and so soon as it appears, he begins to quiver, and to feel himself borne away by the whirlwind.” The last five weeks have seen a whirlwind of revolt in France that echoes the June insurrection of Hugo’s time, or the Paris Commune of 1871. Hundreds of thousands of protestors called the Gilets Jaunes, or “yellow vests,” named after the car safety gear required under French Law, have massed in the streets of Paris and other French cities for five weeks now. Their demands have centered on an end to austerity measures and have shaken the Presidency of Emmanuel Macron. Wisconsin resident Barbara With was in Paris at the start of the protests, and she brings us this report.
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