According to local media in France, Macron’s government announced a moratorium on the hike in fuel prices today. The U-turn comes after Saturday’s riots in Paris which the government said were the worst they had seen in 50 years.
It marked the third week of “gilet jaunes” or yellow vest protests across France, named after high-visibility safety jackets the French are required to keep in their cars. The movement first came together on social media to protest an increase in fuel taxes. But among chants of “Macron Resign! Macron Resign!” at the protest, it was obvious it had become about working and middle class being hit hard by the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron.
“We need a balance between the rich and poor in France,” Jimmy Moreno told VICE News among tear gas and water cannons at L’Arc de Triomphe. Jimmy came to protest peacefully and voted for Macron in the 2017 election but says he wouldn’t vote for him again.
“He has shown himself to be cold-hearted and inhuman, little more than a banker, with no place governing a nation,” Jimmy said the day after the protest at his home in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil.
“What's happening now because of the government's violent actions and the yellow vests' violent reaction, is representative of French history. Every time there is a shift in governance or a revolution, there is violence, it's unavoidable,” he added.
The government struggled to negotiate with the yellow vests which is an a-political grassroots movement that has no clear leadership. But smashed shop windows, graffiti, and cars burning in the streets got the government's attention. “We need to violence to stop because the violence we had against police, against institutions last week is just unacceptable so we need it to stop,” said Aurore Bergé, a deputy in the French Parliament and spokesperson for Macron’s party En Marche!.
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