Demonstrators wearing yellow vests face riot police officers during a visit by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Biarritz, southwestern France, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (AP/Bob Edme)
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PARIS: While flaming barricades, shattered glass and skirmishes have occupied Paris during six weeks of anti-government protests, English-speaking observers have fallen back on a favorite pastime: reflecting on France's revolutions.For some of the most strident U.S. critics, the protests vindicate President Donald Trump's "America First" credo.Some of those in the best position to know – a French political scientist who has studied social unrest, a researcher who's helped carry out hundreds of interviews with yellow vest demonstrators and an academic who has crunched 2 million protest-related tweets – say evidence for such assertions ranges from the arguable to the nonexistent.Della Sudda said she had yet to encounter protesters voicing the wacky allegations – about bogus terror attacks or secret plans to flood France with migrants, for example – that have spread across Facebook in the wake of the yellow vest rallies.The French arm of Russia Today has covered the protests aggressively, but gets nowhere near as many eyes as more traditional French media outlets.Both men laughed off the idea that the yellow vests were big Trump fans.
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