“There is an extreme core of several thousand people who would come to Paris to destroy” – Jean-Michael Blanquer, French Minister of Education (Dec. 6)
For the past couple of weeks, since President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a gas tax hike on France, citizens have taken to the streets in protests that have taken a turn for the worst. With the peaceful protests came violent revolt by anti-Macron agitators who have dubbed themselves “Les Gilets Jaunes“, which translates to “The Yellow Vests”.
Macron’s initial intention was to de-incentivize driving, ultimately reducing carbon emissions. This particular proposal represented his stance on global warming and environmental-friendly protocol. However, the lower classes of France have voiced their discontent; protests, both peaceful and violent, are occurring across the country.
The radicals of the left and right alike have come together in a moment of unity to voice their outrage on the very streets where Macron spends his days. In an effort to create order, police lined in the streets surrounding the capitol. Protests turned violent when they started to shoot rubber bullets at activists.
Since then, the police have fired tear gas at the citizens and closed tourist attractions. The French government has also declared a national emergency. A recent poll, though, shows 72% of the French support the Yellow Vests. The uproar in France has caused a domino effect across Europe called the “European Spring“. The protests have inspired Yellow Vests so far in Belgium, Catalonia, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and The Netherlands.
The Yellow Vests Continue
Recently, Macron caved, suspending the gas tax hike he had signed. It appears that his reaction was mainly, if not entirely, to appease the masses. Macron’s policies themselves have yet to change. Despite his actions, the French Yellow Vests are continuing the European Spring, refusing to stop.
Hundreds of injuries and arrests have occurred in the past week alone, showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, on Thursday, December the 6th, students took to the streets to voice their disapproval, and the Yellow Vests are gearing up for hard-fighting protests on this upcoming Saturday, December the 8th.
Members of the French parliament and the President’s cabinet have articulated worry for the upcoming protest recently. The French Health Minister, Agnès Buzyn, stated: “There is a concern about this violence and some who do not want to find a solution”. Furthermore, the Prime Minister has shunned the protestors publicly. He insisted that “What is at stake is the safety of the French people and our institutions. I call here for responsibility”. He also added that “all the actors in this public debate, politicians, union leaders, and citizens, will be accountable for their statements in the coming days”.
71 Republic will continue to report on the injuries, arrests, and major story developments for the upcoming riots and protests this Saturday and afterward.
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