Prelate prays for France after violent riots

Prelate prays for France after violent riots Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit prayed for the country on December 7, even as the French government dropped all fuel tax increases for 2019.

The government move came after French cities were hit with weeks of violent protests, as French people demanded lower fuel taxes and better purchasing power.

Images of rampage at the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees during the December 1 weekend have featured around the world.

The demonstrations, known as the ‘yellow vest’ protests – after the high-visibility vests worn as a symbol of French citizens’ demands – were set to continue, despite the cancellation of the fuel tax increase. At least four people have died since the protests began in mid-November.


On December 5, Archbishop Aupetit said he believed the protests reflected a “significant suffering of many of our fellow citizens” but he denounced the “outrageous violence” that led to violent clashes, particularly in Paris.

The archbishop, who asked Christians to be peacemakers, prayed for the country at Notre Dame Cathedral’s 6.30pm Mass on December 7, the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseilles, president of the French bishops’ conference, said on December 6 everyone had a responsibility for dialogue.

“This crisis clearly shows a lack of listening and dialogue in our country, some divisions and misunderstandings… a growing mistrust toward any institution and the loss of confidence in intermediary bodies,” he said. He also condemned the violence that marked some demonstrations.

“Only a courageous and constructive dialogue can contribute to the search for the common good,” he added.