January 16, 2019

WorldAware released a Special Report about the ongoing Yellow Vest protests in France and Belgium. 

Yellow Vest demonstrations are likely to cause significant disruptions in France and Belgium through at least the end of January. Related sporadic protests will continue well into 2019, with particularly unpopular government announcements possibly triggering a resurgence. The Yellow Vest movement began in France as a popular protest organized largely via social media in opposition to fuel price increases. Government action to address activists' initial concerns came too late and allowed the campaign to evolve into an anti-government protest movement supported by diverse civil society organizations for their own causes. The movement eventually won government concessions, motivating attempts to emulate it in other countries. These copycat protests prompted intermittent, low-level disruptions in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, but participation failed to reach the heights it did in France. Attendance at demonstrations has declined significantly in France since their peak prior to the government's announcement of concessions; although it is unclear if the Yellow Vest movement will continue to shrink or experience a resurgence in the coming months, those still participating are more likely to engage in disruptive and violent behavior.


Key Judgments

  • Attendance at Yellow Vest demonstrations in France has declined from its peak, though continuing attendees are those most likely to engage in disruptive and violent behavior.
  • Significant protest action is likely to continue in France and, to a lesser extent, Belgium, through at least the end of January.
  • Attempts to generate similar protests outside France and Belgium have typically seen fewer than 100 protesters, though they retain the potential to cause isolated disruptions.

Read the full Special Report here.


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