About 100,000 people in France took to the streets on Tuesday to lash out at the rising costs of living and called for higher wages to make up for soaring inflation and energy bills.

Last week, we reported on protests that broke out in the country that were seen as a direct challenge to President Emmanuel Macron, who lost his majority in the parliament in June and, thus, is in a weaker position. (See “MASSIVE PROTESTS BREAK OUT IN PARIS OVER SOARING PRICES.”

The strikes occured as European Union leaders met to come up with a plan to help protect consumers from astronomical prices. Charles Michel, the European Council president, told reporters that the “energy crisis represents a threat to the internal market” and there needs to be a “maximal coordination” to offset the blow.

Video from the protest showed baton-wielding riot police corralling protesters. As we have reported, the series of people’s protests are also questioning the continent’s support of Ukraine in its war with Russia. The walkouts have already impacted oil refineries and transportation, sparking a gas crisis in France with about 28 percent of the gas stations across the country already running out of either diesel or gasoline.

The latest protests broke out after the CGT union turned back a new deal that TotalEnergies struck with two other unions. These protesters have voiced outrage over the profits that energy companies have made with soaring prices while the average worker suffers. 

“We can see that the profits of big companies are exploding and that employees are being told their pay cannot be increased, that there is no money. So this anger is widespread in Europe,” Philippe Martinez, secretary-general of the General Confederation of Labor, or CGT, told Al Jazeera. 

The report noted that essentially every European country has been impacted by higher inflation, with France coming in at about 6.2 percent. (Estonia’s CPI hit 24 percent last month.)

TRENDPOST: It is worth noting that the Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the treatment of protesters by French police. Iranian authorities have been accused by western governments over its treatment of protesters after the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22 year old who died in police custody. (See “IRAN: PROTESTS ESCALATE.”)

“We are closely monitoring the popular protests and widespread strikes in France, which are based on the peaceful demands of the citizens of the country,” the ministry said. “We condemn the use of force and violence for returning the strikers to work with no regard for their demands as well as the violent confrontation of the French police with the protesters.”

Iran’s statement was an effort to call out the hypocrisy from Western governments when they condemn violent crackdowns in other countries. The videos that have emerged from France could have easily been confused for Iran.

But, of course, you will not read much about these protests in Western media because there can be no wrinkle in unified Ukrainian support. Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting on unrest in Europe over the winter to get the West to force Ukraine to the negotiating table.

The WSJ report noted that support in Europe for Ukraine’s war effort in Ukraine is still high, despite the economic pain. About 67 percent of those polled in France are in favor of sanctions, while 66 percent in Germany support the effort. These numbers are on a downward trend. In March, 72 percent of the French were in favor of the sanctions, and 80 percent of Germans. 

European countries are trying to strike a tough balancing act. Most want to continue to impose tough sanctions on Russia, but some are worried that more sanctions could end up hurting European countries worse than Russia. These officials worry that the additional economic pain would mean the rise of political parties more favorable to Putin, and actually hurt the cause. 
TREND FORECAST: We have been forecasting the “New World Disorder” trend for more than two years. We noted that politicians across the globe are fighting for survival against angry citizens who are taking to the streets in protest of lack of basic living standards, government corruption, crime and violence. (See “NEW WORLD DISORDER TOP TREND: NATIONS SINKING DEEPER, PEOPLE SCREAMING LOUDER.”)

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