Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Soldiers Deployed at Yellow-vest Protests

The Yellow-vest ("gilets jaunes") demonstrations that rocked France since November 17, 2018 continue unabated. 

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) couldn’t stop the protesters and they are hurting his reputation – thus, forcing him to adopt a tough guy image and vowing tough action. 

The police spared no guilt and came at them with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannon. 

In fact, eleven people have died since the protests began. 

And on the nineteenth straight weekend, protesters were banned from the centers of many large French cities including Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Dijon, Rennes and Nice. 

That was not all. Now, soldiers had taken up positions for the very first time during Saturday's protests to back up police and help them clamp down on any trouble. 

Of course, putting the army on the streets is nothing new. Since anti-terror Operation Sentinelle was launched in January 2015, some 7,000 soldiers have been deployed throughout the country to secure buildings, and during one-off events. 

Macron is obviously getting desperate and the decision to bring out armed soldiers to police a social movement is a big mistake.

The protests are unlikely to end any time soon because anger stubbornly lingers. 

Last evening, I was at Setia Avenue in Setia Alam, Selangor to attend the EcoWorld Toastmasters meeting. I wanted to honor this club and so, I did a 2-minute Toast, acknowledging their members' diligence and dedication to Toastmasters. A rarity among corporate clubs.

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