I had the brilliant idea of stopping off for a long weekend in Paris after a trip to Luxembourg. I booked an apartment in the lovely 1st arrondissement - which is kind of fancy. I’ve never been to Paris, so it was a good idea at the time. Except the city is rioting with anarchists setting fire to police cars.
270 people were arrested, a bunch of people were hurt (including police), teargas was used, and I can’t really find a silver lining or even a reason.
Luckily, I have an acquaintance here who has been keeping me up to date on WhatsApp about where the protests are so I can avoid them. I’ve been staying in the 1st (where the protests have been most intense) and it’s been non-stop sirens. I took a walk along the Seine this afternoon and could hear things going absolutely bonkers above me (police seem to be pretty used to this so they keep them hemmed in and generally out of the way of tourists).
Everyone keeps saying these protests are over the cost of gas. To my calculation, the cost of gas us $6-7 USD per US gallon (about 1.45 euros per liter). According to this chart that I found, it doesn’t actually seem that crazy. I mean, it sucks, but it’s Europe. On a percentage basis, we have it worse in California (when compared to the US average) than they do in France vs the Europe average. California average is currently over 3.60/gal.
However, I don’t think this is about gas prices. I think it’s how the young people here are getting off. I saw a couple in their high vis jackets leaving a protest and they literally couldn’t wait to get home. They threw each other up on a wall and started smashing faces. That seems to kind of be the norm with the people I’ve seen. It’s your typical anarchist crowd, rioting for riot sake. Given the news today about politicians using this to put pressure on Macron, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is lighting the fuse on this. Gas prices, my ass.