After Notre Dame burned, many private industries rallied together to front the money that would help fund the cathedral’s reconstruction, however, many French protesters feel that the funds could be better used elsewhere.
According to CNBC, French yellow vest protesters numbering 27,900 around France on Saturday took to the streets and started small fires as a way to bring attention to the fact that, while the burned cathedral is receiving what some estimates say will equal out to one billion dollars in funding, that money should be going to more important things like the poor:
French yellow vest protesters set fires Saturday along a march through Paris to drive home their message to a government they believe is ignoring the poor: that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.
Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to French President Emmanuel Macron’s government to “look at me — I need help too!”
Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements rampaging on the margins of the largely peaceful march, one of several actions around Paris and other French cities.
Protesters were clear that what happened to Notre Dame was a great tragedy, and that the cathedral should be rebuilt, but that the attention for aid should go more toward people than buildings.
“I think what happened at Notre Dame is a great tragedy but humans should be more important than stones,” said protester Jose Fraile according to CNBC.
Others sympathized with the marchers.
“I am not interested in joining them, but I can understand what they’re angry about,” said Antonio Costes, a Paris retiree. “There is a lot of injustice.”
French police say they arrested around 200 people and prevented nearly 20,000 more from entering the city of Paris to join in.