We just returned home from a trip to France and my head is still trying to sort everything out. The Yellow Vests were protesting across the country but most of the press concerning them was from Paris. We spent a week in southern France where most of the police were sympathetic to the protestors. Outside Paris the Yellow Vests opened toll booth gates (no tolls today!) and damaged the hated speeding cameras. One of our hosts was amazed that in the United States the police still chased down speeders to give them tickets. She excitedly said, “you mean they chase you down in a police car with lights flashing just like in the movies?” In France, the dreaded flash from a hidden road side camera is always followed by a rather large ticket in the mail if you are just a couple of km/hr over the speed limit.
We took the high-speed train to Paris on New Years Eve morning and brought in the New Year there. The Yellow Vests were all pretty much peacefully protesting as far as we could tell from our observations and talking to everyone there. The French riot police were the only ones who caused me concern. They were in riot gear and looked all business whenever we saw them.
On New Years day we walked the Champs-Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe down about a mile or two towards the Place De La Concorde. Most of the jewelry stores, banks and a few shops were closed and boarded up with plywood or steel sheeting. By the time we got down to the Renault dealership and checked out the new self-driving concept car most of the stores were open. About a week later before we left I noticed most of the temporary plywood and steel sheeting had been taken down. We talked with a friend there connected with one of the jewelry stores and learned that a robbery occurred during the riots by astute professional thieves who donned yellow jackets during the protests and in the midst of all the confusion simply robbed the store of a substantial amount of jewelry. The thick bullet-proof window glass was ignored and they simply jack-hammered out the window frames with special tooling they brought with them for the job.
All the Yellow Vest protests took place on the week-ends only as most of the protestors were middle class working people who had to go back to work Monday through Friday. The local US news media claimed the protests were over the increase in fuel tax but that was not really true. The fuel tax was simply the last straw. The protestors were against globalism, immigration, aloof politicians and the slow slide backward of the standard of living for the working middle class. Similar protests started breaking out all over Europe. While Macron is hoping to defuse the situation the Yellow Vest protestors are now calling for the middle class to remove their deposits from the banks. It would not surprise me to see the globalist pull some dirty trick and blame the protestors as an excuse for the riot police to get really rough.
The frustration in the air was strangely similar to a lot of talk I hear right here in the United States. When the middle class have had enough it could get interesting here as well.
All in all while it was inconvenient at times I never felt threatened by the protestors but we always gave the riot police a wide berth and left the area immediately when we spotted them.
Precious metals will really take off whenever faith in government is lost by the common man. The first cracks were starting to show up in Paris this month.
Larry LaBorde sells precious metals through Silver Trading Company LLC. Since 2001, Silver Trading Company has offered high volume sales of gold, silver, platinum and palladium to serious investors around the world. It also offers guidance about storage options for metals. Please visit Silver Trading Company’s website at www.SilverTrading.net.