Monday, March 18, 2019

France, Upended

"A November 28, 2018 article in the Egyptian Al-Masri Al-Yawm daily, headlined "Experts: The MB's Covert Organization In Europe Is Involved In The Looting And Vandalism In France," presented statements by "experts on Islamist movements" noting that "covert elements belonging to the so-called global organization of the MB are involved in the demonstrations and protests in France" and pointing out the French unrest's similarity to the events of the Arab Spring in a number of Arab countries, particularly Egypt."
"The first expert quoted, Dr. Muhammad Habib, identified as a former senior official in the global MB organization's political apparatus, said: "The similarity between the [January 2011] events in Cairo [i.e. the unrest that ultimately brought down the Mubarak regime] and the events in Paris is very marked, and this makes us stop and examine this matter. In general, it can be said that the Islamists are connected, directly or indirectly, to the [events] in France." At the same time, Habib called for an in-depth investigation to find out who is behind the protests  in France, particularly because France has 6 million Muslims, among them MB members. The global MB organization, he added, is alive and well."

"The yellow vest protests are dying -- They are basically getting smaller as time goes on, and the thugs are angry about that, so they are expressing it in violence."
Julien, 32-year-old baker, Paris

"We are in the midst of a major social and political crisis. We should have been capable of controlling a situation like the one we have just experienced."
"I'm waiting for explanations from the government."
Anne Hidalgo, Paris mayor
"I want us to analyze things very clearly and take strong decisions very soon, so that this does not happen again", French President Emmanuel Macron responded. He was responding not merely to the weekly yellow vest protests and the violence that has accompanied them more latterly, but to the latest such demonstration where matters went amok to the extent that the thugs among the group vented their rage by wrecking the Champs-Elysees.

President Macron, who was at the time vacationing in the Pyrenees for a skiing break cut short his holiday to return to Paris, arranging a security meeting. Those among his critics who claim the violent resurgence was predictable, condemn him for having left to begin with. In his absence, demonstrators engaged in a violent melee that saw every shopfront on Paris's grandest avenue smashed. Cars were burned, a bank set on fire, on the 18th consecutive Saturday of protests against the government's economic reforms.

"I used to have support for them [the protesters], but they have gone too far. A mother and baby nearly died ... This isn't protest -- this is criminal", Alice Giraud,42, a Marseilles musician stated, while looking at a burnt-out kiosk reeking with smoke, on the Champs-Elysees. Burning cars, the symbol of 'youth protests' out of the squalid, threatening banlieues where police and fire-fighters dare not enter, where Islamist sharia rules, not French justice.

Parisians viewing the avenue a day later condemned the violence, placing blame on "thugs" they identify as a hardcore group of ultra-violent yellow vest demonstrators. According to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, about 1,500 of the protesters who arrived to protest in Paris on Saturday were there for the express purpose of destroying the famous street, a landmark of Paris tourism, the pride of the city.

"Another Saturday of violence which was left to degenerate in the heart of our capital", bemoaned Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the major right-wing opposition party, The Republicans. "It is time to act." Last week Parliament passed legislation not without controversy, toughening penalties for violent demonstrators, banning them from covering their faces, permitting police to bar known troublemakers from participating in the demonstrations.

And this week they can all assess how well that worked out.

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