The demands and complaints are different for each country that embraces the yellow vest movement. In France, it was sparked by a new tax and grew to encompass more general discontent with the government. The movement then spread to other countries. In Spain, the yellow vest demonstrations have expressed anger over pensions. In Israel, the movement draws attention to the rising cost of living. In Ireland, the yellow vest protesters call out corruption.
In a matter of days, since the first demonstrations on Nov. 17 in Paris, yellow vest protests spread from France to Belgium and the Netherlands, and then to Canada, Portugal, Morocco, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Spain, Sweden, Iraq, Taiwan and more, all with their own local variations, yet all the movements demand change.
Spain protested for pensions, Portugal for lower taxes, inspired by the movement in France. Lebanon protested against deteriorating economic conditions as anger has been mounting over political deadlock in forming a new government. Canada’s yellow vests seem to have a decidedly anti-immigrant sentiment for now. In Iraq, protesters inspired by the yellow vests demand basic services, water and electricity.
Protesters block roads, surround government buildings and demand change. The governments respond with various forms of repression: tear gas, stun grenades, water canons and live ammunition. The sight of the vests are terrifying world leaders. Egypt banned the sale of the movement’s signature piece of clothing.