I know many of you have been waiting for an update from me, I've received your messages. While I have been wanting to give you a new heads up from where I am, I also do not do filler. You will hear from me when there is something to say. The last week I've been reading and talking and listening around in order to pick up on the current trend in the protests and to gauge where the movement is headed and what the pulse is. The first few days I was able to get pretty much nothing, however, the last couple days more information has come to me.
To start, Macron's speech was not well received. His platitude and mimicked concern filled mea culpa/denouncement went over about as well as a loud fart in a quiet church. The speech started off at making a point regarding the destruction wrought upon Paris which was almost acceptable, yet his accusatory tone and the way in which he used this to start the speech was in my opinion a major mistake and would have been best saved for the end of his address as its ultimate effect was to sour the rest of what he had to say. He came across as an angry parent come to dress down his misbehaving children, which falls right in line with his Jupiter complex (for those not following Macron's career, shortly after becoming president he summonned parliament for a speech during which he stated that he would govern like Jupiter handing down his commandments from upon high - no I am not exaggerating, those were his words) of considering himself above the unwashed masses. Following this was a segment devoted to his human side with feigned concern and pity for those who are unable to make ends meet and other problems people have been having. It came across as very disgenuine and forced, but well rehearsed. His supposed concessions were of little value, nothing new, only items that were already on the agenda, to be accelerated (the 100€ a month increase to min wage to begin 2019 was already slated for 2020) and others to be delayed or cancelled (ie Gas tax). Towards the end, he even gave a slight nod to the nationalists and others with a gripe regarding the unchecked immigration, though he only stated that a discussion must take place, not that he acknowledged the legitimacy of the concern, but rather once again, like a father figure that is going to take the time to explain to a petulant child why it is important that he eat his vegetables. The whole thing ended with him imploring the populace to cease the protests.
Sure enough, he got chuckles at best. No one the next day had any intention to stop. Some even had their resolve increased by the insulting nature of his speaking down to the people. Sure enough, that night, there was a shooting at the Strasbourg Chrismas market (a wonderful place to do some traditional christmas shopping with lots of artisinal crafts and baked goods, I strongly recommend it to anyone visiting in December). While I have no proof, there have been some odd coincidences and discrepencies regarding the event. In my opinion, it smells rotten, but that will be for a different article if I ever get to it. Right away, establishment media as well as several notable political figures grabbed on to the event as a reason to call on the Yellow Jackets to cease their protests and go back to taking it up the ass without complaining. This too had the opposite effect to that desired...
However, the same day saw a pronounced cold snap hit the country. Over night the temperatures dropped between 10 and 20°C (18-36°F). Though I have not seen or heard anyone refer to the temperatures as being the reason, and it well could be related to the "terrorist attack" in Strasbourg, I did note a drop in presence around the roundabouts where the Yellow Jackets have been posted for a month now. This was the point where I decided to not write anything until I was able to come by more information.
It would seem that the drop in attendance in Paris as well in the roundabout encampments was not related to the cold or the terrorist attack or the speech or general fatigue by the participants. The different groups involved at a local level seem to have come to an agreement that they will be having a "treve" which is basically a short duration ceasing or lowering of operations for the Christmas/New Years season, but that they will return in full force come January 2019. This treve is not a compete cessation, the roundabouts are still occupied, though by fewer persons, likely so as to dissuade any attempts at making their return difficult or dismantling their shelters and barricades, and it is likely that their outposts will continue to be occupied throughout the holliday season in shifts.
My observations would seem to confirm this view of things as well as what has been told to me by coworkers and friends who bring information from further out. Regarding the roundabout blockade closest to my home, it is still occupied with a lesser contingent, about half of what was there week 4. My work brought me to the factory district near the Total refinery, so I was able to observe first hand that location as well. There were at least 20 protestors present though all but 4 were inside the shanty they had built, I'm guessing to keep out of the cold. The remaining 4 were arguing with police on the side of the road. I was not there long enough to determine about what. The roads were unblocked though the barricades were present next to the shanty and their protest signs were all still up. A third roundabout was about the same, the Yellow Jackets had removed the blockades and were hanging out around a fire, not engaging traffic.
From other persons late last week I got word that in one location the highway was being blocked to shipping traffic by leaving just enough space for cars and vans to get through the barricade, but insufficient for trucks who would have to drive about 20 miles to the next highway access. One other location I heard of was blocking all traffic by having yellow jackets drive at slow speed around the roundabout allowing only a few cars through at a time. Most of the rest of the news I have is similar to my observations.
So it would seem that the protests are ongoing despite reduced participation, and that they should return to full force in 2 weeks.
Other news on the ground.
A "casseur" (one of the people causing destruction, throwing rocks at police etc, basically the anarchists) was caught on film this weekend throwing rocks, but he forgot to remove his Police armband. This video is currently making the rounds, I'm sure some of you have seen it. If one of you could link it here below that would be appreciated.
Word is that one of the reasons Macron is so desperate to get the protests to end is that the Police's supply of rubber bullets and tear gas is running very low.
There are also news reports circulating that the government is considering the use of a different chemical agent for crowd control that can be fired from the armored personnel carriers that is far more powerful than tear gas. What precisely this chemical of last resort is was unspecified in all articles I've read, however at least 2 described it as far more powerful (200* more was the figure cited) than normal tear gas.
In other news, it would seem that a number of french Army Generals and other ranking military have sent Macron a strongly worded letter regarding his signing of the migration treaty calling this an act of treason by the French President against an already irate populace. There were undertones of the potential for a military coup, though not stated in so many words. French is truely a beautiful language.
The Police are currentlty on the verge of striking. A number of grievences on their part regarding a massive amount of unpaid overtime, being overworked, and being used as tools of a government that no longer has the support of the people have all been cited as reasons for their discontent.
So there you have it patriots, this is what I can tell you about the current state of affairs here. While things may look like they are slowing down or ending, it is only a temporary situation and should return to the heightened state in just a few weeks.
Keep your eyes open for the movement spreading to other countries. Currently France has been joined by Belgium (which is getting violent, and seemingly very nationalist), Germany, England, Spain, Netherlands, Australia and now Canada. It is also rumored that Iraq has Yellow Jackets though I have been unable to confirm for the moment.
Any additional information that you might have, feel free to add to the comments section. I will try to answer any questions you might have, but my time is limited.
Keep up the good fight!