They’ve endured tear gas and rubber bullets, but the Yellow Vests still possess ‘joie de vivre’ – joy of life. A rousing video of protesters dancing cheek-to-cheek as police close in captures the spirit of their movement.
Bloodied protesters on the streets of Paris may be grabbing headlines, but the true zeitgeist of the Yellow Vest movement can be found in the small town of Margencel in southeastern France.
— France Bleu Pays de Savoie (@bleusavoie) December 19, 2018
When French gendarmerie – military police – arrived to clear out a group of demonstrators who had set up camp outside the town, a troupe of Yellow Vests assembled for a final feat of heart-tugging defiance.
Congregating around their makeshift bonfires, the yellow-clad resistors danced arm-in-arm to the tender strains of Edith Piaf. The military police, who had been sent to evict them, looked on – respectfully waiting, it seems, for the rousing French ballad to end before beginning their unpleasant work.
This brief video tells a story that goes much deeper than opposition to fuel taxes or Emmanuel Macron – the nationwide Yellow Vest movement has stirred the French soul.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Western media to broadcast such images on every TV screen, however. Increasingly, the working-class protesters are being painted as dangerous extremists who have been spurred on by Moscow.
CNN, for example, has claimed that “anti-immigration populists and hard-core fascists” are among those who fill the movement’s ranks – an apparent attempt to discredit the nationwide, cross-party movement.
Imagine the headlines if this final, defiant waltz had taken place on Maidan!
While the Yellow Vests are a French phenomenon, their movement has achieved an immediate global impact. The mesmerizing display of people power has already forced concessions from the government, inspiring similar movements in neighboring European states and even far-flung places such as Israel, Tunisia and Canada.
In a world that seems increasingly at the mercy of supranational organizations and structures, the Yellow Vests have reminded their French – and global – leaders that ordinary people still have a voice.