French protests should not intervene with tourist destinations


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The infamous “gilet jaune” with the French word for revolution taped on the back disrupts a popular

By Laura Sneller, Arts Editor

The Arc de Triomphe is an iconic piece of French history and culture. With its beautiful design and rich history, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country. However, this monumental structure has been defaced with graffiti as a result of what has been deemed one of France’s worst riots in a generation.

Protesters are attempting to send a message to the French government and to gain attention by destroying famous historical sites. However, this action is rash and will only make the situation more toxic. By destroying sites, they are destroying the rich history that France prides itself on having. This violence has changed Paris’ status as a fun, stylish metropolitan place to a dangerous city.

According to a Dec. Washington Post. article, the French Interior Ministry estimates that 136,000 protesters turned out across the country over the weekend, in addition to 280,000 in previous weeks.

These protests are in response to the French president Emmanuel Macron’s raising of the tax on gasoline in an effort to protect the environment. Though it may not be a huge problem for Parisians, it sparked unrest in the people who live outside of the city who need cars to commute to their jobs. These protests began in the French provinces, but have recently been brought to Paris. The protesters wear bright yellow vests to symbolize their cause and the yellow vest movement has caused a political crisis for the French government.  Even though the gas tax is now shelved, there are still protests being planned.

According to an Associated Press Dec. article, museums, theaters, shops and the Eiffel Tower are temporarily closed as a precaution against further destruction and violence from the protests.

These violent protests are creating an unsafe environment in a city famous for its history and its popular tourist sites. They are not accomplishing its original purpose in notifying the government of the people’s disagreement with the new tax. Instead, they are creating a chaotic situation that is putting people and history in danger.

Many of the protesters have moved to the suburbs of Paris due to the rising real estate prices and are arguing that they are being disproportionately affected by the gas tax. The tax would make it extremely difficult for people who need to drive to work to continue working in the city. However, the actions that the protesters are taking are very drastic and rash. The destruction of monuments and tourist sites may add a shock factor to the movement and may draw attention, but ultimately, they are destroying history that should outlast their protests.

According to a Dec. BBC News article, The operator of the Eiffel Tower said the threat of violent protests on Saturday made it impossible to ensure adequate security conditions.

Paris is a popular tourist destination and these protests affect people who are planning to travel to France, such as WCHS students during Winter and Spring Break. These protests create an unsafe environment and are destroying important, historical structures. They also make Paris a more unappealing place for travel, ruining its original reputation for being a stylish, fun city.