- Marjorie van Elven |
Fashion retailers such as Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Zara and Mango had to evacuate customers and shut their doors last Saturday (December 1) as the third weekend of protests in Paris became violent.
About 5,000 gilets jaunes (“yellow vests”) marched down the famous avenue on Saturday, manifesting their discontent about a new fuel policy and the living conditions of the lower-middle classes in the peripheries of France. While the demonstrations started in a pacific way at midday, by the afternoon the avenue was taken by masked protesters who burned cars, vandalized monuments and clashed with the police, in the most violent riots the French capital has seen in over a decade. More than 250 people were arrested and at least 100 injured.
The protests are already jeopardizing holiday sales. According to the French Ministry of Finance, sales dropped 35 percent compared to 2017 on the first weekend of protests alone. On November 24, the second time the gilets jaunes took the streets, sales fell by 18 percent. Although there is still a considerable amount of time until Christmas, it is undeniable the unrest has already left a mark on this year’s holiday results.