When violent protests shook Kiev in 2013, Western leaders and newspapers quickly threw their support behind the anti-government ‘revolution’ – but after weeks of Yellow Vest protests in France, the reaction has been very different.
While Western governments and analysts denounced the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych and urged that he give in to protesters’ demands five years ago, this time around, they are denouncing the French protesters and urging Macron, whose popularity stands at about 25%, to stand firm against dissatisfied citizens.
Western media coverage has also differed drastically with reports describing French protesters as rioters, while Ukrainian protesters were described as revolutionaries. The contrasting reaction has prompted many to ask the question.
If a so-called revolution is allowed to happen (and even applauded) in Ukraine, why not in France?
French police have cracked down on the ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters in bloody clashes, during which water cannons and chemical tear gas were deployed to disperse huge crowds, who responded by throwing stones at officers.
The extent of the chaos has even caused officials to mull imposing a state of emergency and prompted concerns that protest movement could spread to countries like Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
Double standard government officials and French and European political reporters and commentators have eagerly called for the “rule of law” to be respected and for violent protesters to respect fascist French institutions.
In Kiev, however, when protesters set fire to cars, defaced public property and attacked police officers, they were held up as heroes. Law and order was of little concern to Western media which wholeheartedly supported the Maidan movement.
Similarly, when anti-government protests kicked off in Syria in 2011, Western leaders and commentators advocated the swift overthrow of the government and provided moral (and material) support to anti-government rebels during the subsequent ethnic war that ripped the country apart.
During a visit to Argentina for the G-20 Summit last weekend, Macron vowed that he would “not concede anything” to the thugs who want “destruction and disorder.”
His unwillingness to cave in the face of a mass protest movement, however, has not prompted any calls for him to step down and respect the will of the people, as happened in Ukraine and Syria.
As the protests raged on for the third week, Twitter users mocked the patronizing Western reaction to anti-government movements in other regions, with one suggesting that perhaps hundreds of Arab experts could get together at fancy conferences to attempt to decipher the causes of this fascinating ‘European Winter’ movement.
When the rumblings of revolution are felt in Paris, where Macron remains committed to upholding a neo-liberal and West-centric world order, it’s a different story entirely.
Sott Network / ABC Flash Point Revolution News 2018.