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The “yellow vests”, a story of an extraordinary movement born on Facebook

By Adrien Sénécat

The movement, born on social networks to protest against prices at the pump, has turned into widespread popular anger that shakes the government.

The wind began to blow in early autumn; Saturday, December 8, it still blew in Paris and in several cities of France, theaters of many gatherings of “yellow vests”, for the “act IV” of the mobilization. It was first felt with the Facebook event created October 10 by Eric Drouet, a truck driver, to protest against the rise in fuel taxes. Again, eight days later, hypnotherapist Jacline Mouraud released a four-minute video denouncing the ” hunt “ to motorists. Then three days later, again, via a petition calling for lower prices at the pump published on the platform by Priscillia Ludosky, a 33-year-old micro-entrepreneur.

Hypnotherapist Jacline Mouraud is one of the first to have embodied the movement of “yellow vests”. Facebook / Jacline Mouraud

Behind, the first warning signs of the storm are soon to come. Priscillia Ludosky's petition reaped thousands, then hundreds of thousands of signatures in a few days. To date, it has more than 1.1 million. The counters of the video Jacline Mouraud panic too: more than six million views and thousands of comments for this unknown general public, which finds itself propelled on the shelves of major television channels.

In a few days, a climate settles on Facebook: hundreds of other videos, images, petitions and rants of all kinds challenge the executive. Several recent decisions, all equally unpopular, are also cited: the limitation of the speed of circulation to 80 km / h on the secondary roads, the decrease of the APL or the suppression of the subsidized contracts.

In the face of criticism, the government tries to defend itself somehow, recalling that the increase in taxes explains only a relative share of soaring fuel prices and advocating for the ecological transition. “I intend to stay on course,” ensures Edouard Philippe in an interview at The Dispatch of the Midi October 26th.

But what the Prime Minister does not know is that the breaking wave is of a different nature from the ones the executive has faced since May 2017. This is the story of the birth of a movement out of norm that neither the government, nor the media, nor even most of its members, have seen coming.

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