French President Emmanuel Macron laid a minute of silence on Sunday morning in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the triumphal arch. Exactly where three weeks ago, on November 11, he received over 70 heads of state from around the world to commemorate the end of the First World War 100 years ago. But who still remembers the pictures of peacefully united heads of state in this place today?
Much stronger are the impressions of France’s new protest movement, the „Yellow West,“ which conquered the triumphal arch on the last two Saturdays. The protests are getting sharper.
So far, protesters in Paris stormed the Bastille Square or the Republic Square in the east of the city. Never before, however, was the triumphal arch commissioned by Emperor Napoleon in the west of the capital scene-like protests.
Here, the people celebrated in 1998 and then again this summer, the World Cup victories of their own football team. In the past, military parades were held here. But the triumphal arch painted with demo graffiti, surrounded by burning street barricades, with singing demonstrators at the grave of the unknown soldier?
That did not even exist in May 1968, which is new in the long history of social protests in Paris. Macron had to recapture the lost public space all the faster.