Feared and revered: US views on France’s ‘yellow vests’


The two-month-long ‘gilets jaunes’, or ‘yellow vest’, movement in France, protesting the fall in living standards for low- and middle-income earners and against the powers of the country’s social and political elite, continues largely unabated. It has attracted worldwide attention, and not least in the United States, where the Left sees it as an echo of the Occupy Wall Street movement, where also supporters of President Donald Trump have hi-jacked it as a new symbol of protest against the liberal establishment, and where the latter interpret it as a devil of populism. Mediapart’s US correspondent Mathieu Magnaudeix reports from New York on the confused reactions across the Atlantic to the largely misunderstood revolt in France.

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On December 22nd, when the “gilets jaunes” movement in France was into its sixth successive Saturday of nationwide street protests, Arno Fortelny, a 35-year-old software developer in the United States, organised a “yellow vest” demonstration in front of the French consulate on New York’s Fifth Avenue, close to Central Park.