France protests ultimate test for Macron’s presidency

Riot police members block protesters wearing "Yellow vests" (gilets jaunes) near the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris on December 8, 2018 during a mobilization against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes. (Photo by AFP)

The “yellow vest” protests in France are going to be the “ultimate test” for Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, says an analyst, adding that they will certainly snowball into something much larger due to the reforms put through by the government.

“The reforms that he [Macron] has put through not just the fuel on the taxes but also the cutting of pensions for many the people who have worked their entire lives is something that has garnered a great deal of hostility towards him. This is probably one of the most unpopular moves a French president has made in many decades … This particular uprising is generally speaking a righteous reaction to unfair policies that have been put through by the government and the inevitable result of having done so,” Jason Unruhe told Press TV in an interview on Saturday.

“This is all a very large unorganized outburst and there can be different people coming in to these protests for different reasons but they are united in one idea that they are very angry with Macron for the way he has run his government thus far and it is really not looking good for him right now at all. It seems more like his presidency may be in severe jeopardy right now,” he added.

The intense protest events, which degenerated into street clashes and vandalism throughout Paris over the weekend, broke out last month over the fuel taxes aimed at financing France’s anti-pollution measures.

The massive protests were initially triggered by the rising cost of fuel this year, and rapidly expanded into a wider revolt against government policies, which stands accused of pursuing policies that primarily impact low-income households in the European nation.

Following last weekend’s protests in central Paris and dozens of other cities and towns across France, the government decided to abandon its plan to raise the fuel tax next year.

But protesters want the president to go further to help hard-pressed households, including an increase to the minimum wage, lower taxes, higher salaries, cheaper energy, and better retirement provisions.

 

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