Yellow Vest Protest Add To Euro-Zone Economic Misery

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Euro-zone faces huge social and economic problems before the Brexit issue is even factored in but with so many other events taking place throughout the world this slow boiling pot of trouble often is placed on the back burner where it is ignored and allowed to fester. The social issues tend to play into the economy because when people are unhappy work gets disrupted and productivity drops. This is one of the reasons Daniel Lacalle, Chief Economist at Tressis Gestión, during a recent interview with CNBC warned that Mario Draghi’s successor at the ECB will face enormous challenges managing the Eurozone’s monetary policy.

Before going deeper into that let's look at two very real problems. First, reports are that despite freezing temperatures and rain, tens of thousands of "Yellow Vest" protesters still took to streets across France on Saturday in the tenth consecutive week of anti-government demonstrations. They have ignored attempts by President Emmanuel Macron to channel their anger into a series of town hall debates aimed at stopping the movement. The president's counter-offensive this week with the launch of his "grand national debate" and spending hours in rural France debating with disgruntled mayors is yielding little. The fact is many of those demonstrating are calling for Macron to step-down and we can add his latest scheme to end "the madness" to the pile of failed gimmicks already tried.

Image Source: Rath Health Foundation

Many Europeans Reject A Tighter Union

These protests are not getting a great deal of airtime or coverage, much of the mainstream media has ignored both the size and scope of the protests, independent journalists, select foreign news outlets and others have been documenting the mayhem. This is not the first time we have seen this trend of blacking out news negative to "the state" and it is a reason for lovers of freedom and free-speech to be concerned. This fits into the idea mainstream media's role has become to feed the propaganda loop that plays a huge role in shaping public opinion and in the end continues to erode and ultimately results in the government being able to slowly hack away at our rights for what appears to be "the greater good."

The rally in Paris, as well as those in several other cities, ended in clashes where the police using tear gas and water cannons to dispersed hooded protesters who threw paving stones and bottles. Clashes were also reported in Bordeaux, Toulouse and the western city of Rennes. The only promising sign was that for the second consecutive week there was no evidence of the chaos and destruction seen over several successive weekends in the capital. An estimated 84,000 demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday, including about 7,000 in the French capital. Paris deployed 5,000 police notably around government buildings and the Champs-Elysees shopping area. About 80,000 police fanned out nationwide. Protest turnouts are now being closely watched for signs of possible fatigue in the movement as it enters its third month. According to the Interior Ministry, there were 27,000 protesters across France by early Saturday afternoon, down from 32,000 at the same time the week before.

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