Sputnik: What's happening on the ground right now?
Emmanuel Dupuy: At this time, we see a roundup of the manifestation. We are experiencing a new type of organisation, with more coordinating procedure. The manifestation is now split into two, both in the city of Paris, and in the centre of France, in the city of Bourges, to show that the movement is not only focused on a certain number of political grievances, but more on a social and societal dynamic, and this is why, symbolically, part of this region decided to have this manifestation in the centre of France in Bourges.
Sputnik: It seems that the protests has evolved, because of course they began as something that didn't have much structural organisation.
Emmanuel Dupuy: It didn't have much structural organisation but it has a very political strength, in the fact that all of the grievances that seemed to be non-coordinated were deeply in the scope of a certain number of political movements, a certain number of cynical cooperation, and so on. And what we are experiencing is that the Gilets Jaunes are trying to understand how it works, it took a long time.
The Gilets Jaunes have widely understood that they need to be more considered as a political organisation. This is why last week a certain number of key leaders have decided to create a political party and decided to go into the political arena. Now we seem to have a 'better expertise', and they are understanding how the rules are being played, and I think the evolution of the movement is interesting on this fact. Now they are discussing with a certain number of political leaders, a certain number of elected bodies, of course the mayors, which are in the scope of the national debate, which will be launched next week.
So let's see how that goes on. But I see on one side a certain form of politicisation of the movement, which is a good thing; but on the other side it's true that there is a radicalisation of the movement in contradiction or on behalf of what I have just said precisely.
Sputnik: Ahead of the protests this week, some of the demonstrators were calling for massive cash withdrawals to disrupt the banks and weaken the state. How far are these demonstrators ready to go?
Emmanuel Dupuy: I think we should not focus on a certain number of declarations, which of course do not represent the totality of the movement. It is not because some leaders have a certain number of unrealistic demands, [among] which of course I would put what you've just mentioned. But all of the leadership of the Gilets Jaunes are pushing or assessing that precise agenda.
And they are claiming not only for local and specific demands, but are waiting for a mass movement of reform – reform of institutions, reform inside the political leadership. They are claiming that we have a sort of vacuum on corruption, which of course is a reality in France as well as any other country of the world.
So it is a movement which is now more profound, more political than I think a certain number of media, I would focus on French media, have pinpointed. It is not just a sort of uprising or sort of revolt. It is more of a profound wave of necessity to reform a country which has not tackled a certain number of issues in regard to fiscality, in regard to taxation, or in regard to the problem of the debt, which of course is something which is burdening the growth of France over the last ten years.
Dr. Emmanuel Dupuy is the president of the Institute of European Perspective & Security Studies, a Paris-based think tank. He is also an associate professor specialising in security studies at the Universite Paris-SudOrsay. The views expressed by Dr. Dupuy do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.