By Indri Schaelicke and Ryan Lau | United States
Videos and images circulating on Twitter Sunday night appear to show the French government snipers shooting protesters. There is currently confusion over whether the bullets fired are made of rubber or are real bullets. Regardless, many citizens are coming away with serious injuries.
Recently, the government approved a hike in the tax on gas. Protestors have been rioting in the street over the past few days, with many citizens using violent protest as a means to express their displeasure with this tax change. Fires have been consuming cars and damaging local businesses. In an effort to control these protests, police have closed tourist areas and fired tear gas. This is the first major escalation since the protests broke out.
In addition to the gas tax, the protesters, who call themselves “Yellow Vests”, are upset with an increase to the French pension system. Though taxes are going up, the payouts for many citizens are decreasing. This, among other general dissatisfaction with French President Emmanuel Macron, has fostered increased anti-government sentiment among Yellow Vests.
— cooland ☭ (@cooland413) December 2, 2018
— srb news (@srbnews0) December 3, 2018
The current escalation of tensions could have large implications on the structure of French politics and government. Macron is reportedly considering declaring a national state of emergency. According to several reports, there have been 110 injuries in the fiasco so far. He has been defending his police officers and their actions, saying ″(Violence) has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of a legitimate anger” and “no cause justifies” attacks on police.
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