Historical Artifacts Inside Arc De Triomphe Damaged Amid Protests Over Rising Fuel Prices

Violent protests descended on Paris this weekend. What was originally discontent at fuel tax hikes became a response to greater issues, including the city’s high cost of living and what some see as incompetence from French President Emanuel Macron.

As the demonstrations became rowdier, Yellow Vest protesters stormed the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, smashing displays in the landmark’s museum and significantly damaging many of the artifacts exhibited. The storming of the Arc de Triomphe resulted in 133 injuries, including 23 French police officers. In addition, officers made 412 arrests.

Exacerbating the human injuries and discontent was the irrevocable damage done to many of the artifacts on display in the Arc de Triomphe.

Shortly after, President Macron inspected the damage. His presence was poorly received.

The riots ended in tear gas and physical aggression between officers and protesters.

While the risk to human lives was concerning enough, the vandalism within the monument shocked many.

The Gilets Jauntes, or “Yellow Vests,” who perpetrated the riots are largely blue-collar workers from rural areas of France. Their economic discontent has mobilized them through the use of social media, railing against the country’s economic inequality and President Macron, whom they decry as “President of the Rich.”

As Macron contemplates enacting a state of emergency, Paris has begun the cleanup.

While Macron has pledged not to back down against the perpetrators of the unrest, these most recent protests threaten to force his hand.

H/T: CNBC, New York Times