Large-Scale 'Yellow Vest' Protests Prompt Public Address From Unpopular French President Macron

Nick Kangadis | December 10, 2018

The “yellow vest” protesters in France have clearly had enough of French President Emmanuel Macron. With Macron’s approval rating hitting an all-time low last week, along with the reports that 135,000 people across France protested his policies this past weekend, it’s clear that it’s a turbulent time in Europe.

Despite backtracking on his plans to raise fuel taxes, Macron saw thousands upon thousands of French people take to the streets across France to protest his “economic reforms.”

According to NBC News:

An estimated 10,000 protesters took to the otherwise deserted streets of Paris on Saturday, while a further 125,000 marched in other towns and cities across France, the Interior Ministry said. Nearly 2,000 arrests were made and the violence left 264 people wounded, including 39 police officers.

Tens of thousands of police have been deployed in response to the “gilets jaunes” ["yellow vests"] movement, named for the fluorescent safety vests that French motorists must carry in their vehicles.

What began as a revolt against proposed fuel tax hikes, the protests have morphed into a broader rebellion against Macron’s entire 18-month presidency.

Last week, it was reported that Macron’s approval rating reached an all-time low, 18 percent. Along with the news of the French people’s disdain for Macron, a spokesman for Macron predicted “great violence” ahead of this past weekend’s protests.

“Our country is deeply divided,” French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said. "It is the president's role to unify the country.”

After remaining surprisingly quiet amid the unrest in his country, Macron will address the nation on Monday, according to the Associated Press (AP). While there have been calls for Macron to step down as France’s president, the AP says that’s “highly unlikely.”

The AP reported:

That’s a highly unlikely prospect.

Instead Macron is expected to announce measures to reduce taxes and boost purchasing power for France’s working classes who feel his presidency has favored the rich. He’s being forced to act after four weeks of “yellow vest” protests that started in France’s struggling provinces and morphed into surging riots in Paris, scaring tourists and foreign investors alike.

Most politicians don’t mind spending money, as long as it’s not their own. It looks like Macron has no choice but to scale back his “champagne socialism.”