The Yellow Vests and Why There Are So Many Street Protests in France

Rioting erupted in the heart of the French capital Saturday, as protests against President Emmanuel Macron morphed into melees that left burning cars and shattered storefronts across one of the city’s most upscale neighborhoods.

The demonstrations, among the most destructive to hit Paris in recent decades, signal the depth of public opposition to Mr. Macron as he moves to enact sweeping overhauls of the French economy. A protest movement of “gilets jaunes,” or yellow vests, has ridden a wave of popular discontent with the French leader to become the most potent threat yet to his young presidency.

While France is accustomed to sometimes violent protests in the working class suburbs of Paris, Saturday’s rioting occurred in the streets around the Champs-Élysées, a magnet for tourists and the wealthy. The area on Saturday would normally be thronged with holiday shoppers. Instead, stores closed en masse and boarded up their windows as they braced for the demonstrators. NBC’s Lucy Kafanov reports from Paris for the TODAY Show, Nightly News with Lester Holt and MSNBC: