PARIS — They won’t go away. Week after week, France’s yellow vests are out on the streets, in one of the biggest and longest popular uprisings the country has seen in years; a political crisis with no easy exit.
On Saturday, roughly 51,000 protesters took to the streets for the thirteenth consecutive weekend but the numbers were down from January. Once again, the demonstrations were marked by violence, with one protester severely wounded in the hand.
Now heading into its fourth month, the unrest has cost the French economy billions of dollars in lost tourism and commerce, and morphed from anger over a fuel tax hike to include broader social and economic grievances.
Named after the trademark yellow security vests French citizens keep in their cars, the gilets jaunes or yellow vest movement is igniting similar protests elsewhere in Europe—even as some French unions and parties are eager to co-opt it. Last week It even helped to turn long-simmering tensions between France and Italy into a full-blown spat with Paris withdrawing its ambassador to Rome for ‘consultations,’ following a meeting between Italy’s deputy prime minister and yellow vests.
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