“We are angry!” This is the sentence that I have repeatedly heard from Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) demonstrators during the past three weeks while taking the political temperature in France. The assertion seems to refute my first diagnostic in a column last month that the movement reflected boredom rather than anger.
Having talked to dozens of rioters and observed some of their shenanigans including burning car tires, overturning parked cars and smashing shop-windows in posh streets, I am prepared to admit that both anger and boredom might be involved.
The first thing to note, though, is that this is not an uprising of the starving poor and homeless masses, supposing such strata exists in one of the world’s most prosperous countries. The rioters we met were mostly apparently well-fed and eloquent middle and lower middle class in their mid-life. Mostly live in the provinces, especially Brittany, in mid-size towns and villages. Many are early retirees, in their 60s, with nothing exciting to do.
The rioters seem to be bored on their own behalf but angry on behalf of “the left-behind masses” they believe exist somewhere in France.
Last Saturday, the total number rioting in Paris and 12 other cities was put by the police at 50,000, a sharp fall compared to nine weeks ago when the fireworks started. But what do they actually want? It is hard to tell. Since there is no leadership structure and no spokespersons are allowed, one must do with anecdotal evidence.
Australian Justice Desmond Fagan says that “Muslims should publicly denounce ‘belligerent’ verses of the Koran that have been used by Islamic extremists to underpin terrorism.” He said this “while jailing two terror-plotters.”
This judge is on the right track. Verses from the Quran and Hadiths underlay all the actions of Islamic supremacists and jihadists, who are loyal to the Sharia above all else and aim to subvert free societies. This obvious fact continues to be ignored by Western leaders who are too timid to about offending the new Sharia police that wield de facto power over the public discourse in the West. Meanwhile, many mainstream Muslim leaders routinely practice taqiyya and deceive intimated Westerners.
The Quran is clear in its hostility toward disbelievers:
(8:12) “(Remember) when your Lord inspired the angels… “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”
Police on Friday resorted to tear gas shelling and baton charge to disperse protesting activists of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in Karachi, officials and witnesses said.
At least 50 TLP workers were detained as the protesters demonstrated against the Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the acquittal of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years wrongfully accused on death row in a blasphemy case.
Following a protest call issued by the party, several TLP workers first started gathering at Sharfabad signal near Bahadurabad soon after Friday prayers.
DIG East Amir Farooqi told Dawn that police had already asked the party to desist from holding any protests.
The officer claimed that the religious party’s workers pelted stones on moving vehicles, damaging the windows of many of them. They also allegedly damaged a police mobile.