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Who pays for anarchy in France?

I am 75 and have lived in France for over 30 years. I weep when I see a country tearing itself apart as a disbelieving world watches it descending into anarchy. A government that appears unable or unwilling to take decisive action.

At this time of the year I usually travel by car to England to share Christmas and New Year with my family. This year it is impossible.

I am told that the gilets jaunes have legitimate grievances. That may be so but the method of securing a resolution cannot be right. Ordinary people are being prevented from going about their lawful lives. People are being prevented from keeping medical appointments. Businesses unable to trade.

The rest of the world is seeing a capital trashed; the Arc de Triomphe desecrated and that must grieve many war veterans.

As a former senior police officer of over 30 years I suspect genuine ranks of the gilets jaunes have been infiltrated by criminal elements for their own ends – those who are seen to be wearing masks. The genuine gilets jaunes are willing to be seen and be interviewed.

When this situation is finally over, there will be a price to pay.

France has to recover and there is the cost of policing the protests, clearing debris, rebuilding properties, businesses to recover from lost trade. To rebuild confidence that France is a country to visit and trade with.

The government will pay in the first instance but the money has to come from somewhere and that place is the people, whether by direct or indirect taxes, and those taxes will
continue for years.

Name and address withheld on request

President Macron eloquently denounced the French violence on the one hand, but then basically gave in to the protesters’ demands, reflecting all that is wrong with today’s “leadership.” In short, he caved and rewarded bad behaviour.

What’s the real message then? Riot more to get what you want. It works well, after all, so expect more.

William Choslovsky, Chicago, US

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