Protests in France are becoming a common occurrence. The number of active “Yellow Vests,” as they’re called for the vests they wear, has dropped slightly, but the protests themselves haven’t. Now, the protestors are trying to drum up support for their latest target – the banking system. If successful, the move could have damaging ramifications for the country’s economy and, possibly, the euro.
The Yellow Vests are campaigning for a demonstration to be held outside the Rothschild Bank in Lyon today. They posted about the activity on Facebook and there have also been independent reports about the so-called bank run, which is meant to convince French citizens to withdraw their bank holdings in an attempt to shake up the economy. Banks in France reportedly only hold about a quarter of the actual funds deposited by clients.
The Yellow Vests became extremely active in November after the country tried to increase fuel prices. Thousands of citizens, many wearing yellow vests, poured out onto the streets in protest, resulting in fights with police, damage to public property and a number of arrests.
France’s president attempted to quell the riots in December by offering some economic sanctions; however, these did not have the intended effect and the protests increased, driven by the citizens’ realization that they were more upset about the overall state of the country than they were about gas prices. The country is now seeing one of the largest anti-government actions it has witnessed since 1968.
The government is desperately trying to gain back control. It has announced punishments against those holding unsanctioned protests and is trying to push through a legislative bill that would ban masks from being worn at rallies. The country’s Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, asserts that there will be a new law “punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare [protests], those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks.”
During the protests, a number of Yellow Vests were seen with accolades of cryptocurrencies written on their garb. This has only increased support for the protestors and created an even larger army. Many in the country are starting to rally behind cryptocurrencies, upset with France’s private banking system that goes back about 40 years. The government borrows from the banks and then repays the loans at a high interest rate, which only creates more debt.
Now, the protestors are hoping a direct bank protest will provide the results they want – a change in the country’s financial structure. As Max Keiser said, “If every French person converted 20% of their bank deposits into Bitcoin… French banks and the government would collapse and a lot of bloodshed could be avoided.”
It will be interesting to see how much support the bank run receives as today unfolds.
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