Lovin' the Loire

Yellow Vests see red over Amboise lockdown for Macron visit

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Photo by Philippe Samzun, La Nouvelle République

Nearly 200 Yellow Vests on Saturday staged a protest in Amboise, where French President Emmanuel Macron is due on Thursday, May 2, along with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci with the town under virtual lockdown.

Activists from around the region distributed yellow leaflets calling on the town’s some 13,000 inhabitants to “show your disapproval” by flying yellow flags – “the color of anger” — on their homes on Thursday. The leaflet, which showed Leonardo behind bars, was titled “Le très Clos Lucé” — playing on the name of the manor house where Da Vinci died, as Clos means “close” in the architectural sense or “closed.” Macron “will celebrate 500 years since the death of Leonardo da Vinci by making Amboise a dead city. Some Renaissance,” the flyer read.


The protest came just a few days after Macron held a news conference to cap a nationwide “great debate” aimed at quelling months of protests by the grassroots Yellow Vests. A poll found that some 70 percent of the French rejected his conclusions, and his approval rating remains at around 30 percent ahead of European Parliament elections in May.

“As Mister Macron has reached a level of detestation unequalled in the history of the Fifth Republic [since 1958], the security forces will have to seal off the city of Amboise… to spare Mister Macron’s ears from the recriminations of the people,” the leaflets said.

Several unions have called for protest actions over Macron’s visit to Amboise, where Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life.