Saturday marked the eighth weekend of protests in the French capital against French President Emmanuel Macron. The demonstrations, sometimes violent, kicked off two months ago following the president’s proposed fuel tax hike, and have been occurring at varying levels of intensity and participation.
During another incident of these ‘yellow vest’ protests, a police crackdown resulted in the arrest of 33-year-old Éric Drouet, a truck driver and one of the initial organizers of the protest movement. This controversial figure, who has spread conspiracy theories and called on protestors to storm the presidential palace, gathered a group of people for what police are calling an unauthorized demonstration, but which Drouet claims was merely a restaurant outing. Given the importance of protest culture in France, French laws about undeclared protests are very strict, and Drouet could face heavy fines or even jail time if found guilty.
Though the movement seems to be running out of steam, French police are growing more resolute in cracking down on dissenters. Those who plan to follow in Drouet’s footsteps might want to make sure they keep in line with the law, or they might be trading in their yellow vests for an orange jumpsuit.