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Globetrotting Macron overlooked swelling anger at home

France's president Emmanuel Macron was in Verdun and visited a battlefield during the World War when a gray-haired man confronted…

France’s president Emmanuel Macron was in Verdun and visited a battlefield during the World War when a gray-haired man confronted him on the street and accused him of “killing people” by planning to increase fuel taxes.

Mr. Macron responded by reminding the man of the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. “When we change things, we hurry habits and people are not necessarily happy,” said the president.

The exchange on November 6 pointed to one of Macron’s blind spots: He tends to read the public rather than sympathize with it. Since then, the 40-year-old leader’s high attitude has been undermined by weekly street protests that draw hundreds of thousands of people across France. Protestants spanning the political spectrum have joined a symbol &#821

1; the yellow reflective security vest, or gilet jaune – bearing it as a sign of rebellion against the Macro dawn that takes over highways and revolts in central Paris. 19659004] Violence has forced Mr. Macron to publicly back down for the first time in its presidency and bend to protest against the requirement to delay a fuel tax increase scheduled for January.

 A worker preparing to remove a graffiti read

A worker preparing to remove a graffiti read “Macron departure” on the Arc of Triumph on Sunday.


Thibault Camus / Associated Press

As protests have risen, the president has had tense discussions with his cabinet about what concessions he could do without jeopardizing a wider pro-government process that includes plans to reduce bureaucracy and simplify the country’s pension system in the coming months. Huddling behind closed doors with Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, Macron expressed frustration when he saw opponents boiling their entire environmental policy into fuel tax alone, according to a close assistant. His administration would free up France’s economy, not tax it.

“I do not want us to oppose the French people to defend a treasure. It’s the opposite of what we are,” said Macron to the prime minister.

Most of his presidency, Macron, a former investment banker and technocrat at France’s electoral academy, portrayed the public debate for the backroom negotiations in order to cope with the review. He demanded a “cultural revolution”, which removed the workplace and wealth that founded the country’s social model for decades.

“Gilet jaunes” or “yellow vests” began protesting fuel upsets in France’s rural community. Now their demonstrations have become a national move against President Emmanuel Macron and his government. Photo: Getty

When he started France to compete in a globalized economy, Macron had emerged as a world-leading champion emerged for decades after World War II. It meant defending the European Union from nationalist forces that tore their nails and stood for institutions such as the United Nations and multilateral agreements such as the Paris Agreement on Climate. These high goals, however, alienated the man on the street, with Mr Macron’s approval requirement that fell as low as 23%.

In rural France, people looked at what they saw as an in-depth erosion of their purchasing power. The increase in e-commerce and wholesale sales has wiped out villages and forces people to make longer commutes, often to work in urban areas.

 Protesters wearing yellow vests block a petrol station to protest against higher fuel prices last month in Nantes, France.

Protesters wearing yellow vests block a petrol station to protest against higher fuel prices last month in Nantes, France.


stephane mahe / reuters

Steffy Hortobagyi, a social worker in Limoges, in central France, joined the jaunes gorge after the Macro government trimed state aid as she relies on paying rent. She is now spending her weekends gathering roundabouts along country roads and joining the protests over her anger with the president.

“I can thank him for one thing: he has joined the French people,” said Mr Hortobagyi.

The 2018 fuel tax increase, which ran under Macron’s first budget law without targeting public attention, came into force in January and raises diesel tax by 7.6 euro cents per liter and 3.9 cents per liter for unleaded gas. The average price for lead-free in France is now $ 6.59 per gallon, most of the tax.

On October 18, Macron visited Brussels in an EU summit when Jacline Mouraud, a silver-haired singer and accordion player from Brittany, uploaded a video to her


Account takes charge of the President. Mouraud is jokingly criticized for four and a half minutes of criticism by Mr Macron and his decision to introduce higher fuel taxes and stricter emission standards. She accuses the president of not “giving a darn” about the cost of everyday commuters, because he and his ministers travel in tax-paid state cars.

“We do not live everyone in the city,” said Mouraud, adding that she drives more than 15,000 miles a year. “I have no choice but to take my car, whether it’s polluting or not.”

The video went viral and hugged millions of views. An online petition revealing fuel fees, launched by Priscillia Ludosky, an aromatherapy therapist from Paris, soon took over a million signatures.

Mr. Macron did not respond to the criticism, but commuters in France made the foundation of the gil’s jaune movement over social media.

 High school students in Lille join the protests on Thursday, one with a sign called Mr Macron

College students in Lille join the protest on Thursday, one with a sign called Macron’s president of the rich.


Baziz Chibane / Zuma Press

At the beginning of November, Macron went on a week-long tour of World War II battlefields in the rise to the coat of arms’s hundredth century – visiting his staff designed to get him in touch with the daily French people. That’s when the gray-haired man confronted him with the fuel prices.

“There are not only rich people in France, you have to think about the middle class,” he said to Macron.

President replied that Global oil prices were affected by political instability around the world and added: “When you see me far away fighting internationally, it’s also for it. It’s to keep things from collapsing.” [19659008] On November 17, more than a quarter of millions of people took on streets and roads in France in yellow vests and blocked traffic on more than 2,000 different locations. A woman was killed when a panic driver ran over after the protesters began to hit the car’s roof. Two days later, a motorcyclist was killed in an accident near a gilet jaune roadblock.

Macron continued to allow his prime minister, Philippe, to fill the void. “The course we have chosen is the right one, and we will stick to it,” Philippe said.

The following weekend became the first time for the first time in central Paris, where several thousand protesters collided with the police, including the Champs Elysees shopping corridor.

The following days Macron broke his silence on protests to deliver a stamped address on energy and climate policy. “Our nation’s strategy for energy transition …”, he said at the beginning of the address before taking off. “These words, I admit, are a bit abstract”.

Speaking for a background with the slogan “Let’s Change Together”, the president continued that France had committed to reducing the emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement and in harmony with the rest of the European Union.

“I will not give in to chaos and violence,” Macron said. Refusing to abandon the next fuel tax increase planned in January, he instead offered to cut taxes if global oil prices rise again and to lower France’s shift from cheaper nuclear power.

Many of his critics were unhindered. “He spoke of Europe, but he did not talk about the people of France,” said Christophe Chalencon, a gilet jaune from Provence.

One day after that address, Macron traveled to Argentina to participate in a group of 20 summits on November 30 and December 1, just the weekend when the gilet jaunes planned to return to the streets in power.

His government in the home was left to fight the unmanageable and increasingly irregular movement. Ms. Ludosky was called for a meeting with Macron’s Minister for the Environment, filmed and published online.

“Rising rises and it will continue to rise,” says Ludosky to the minister and adds that Mr. Macron’s speech earlier this week “has really not established anything.”

 A man wearing a yellow vest, the symbol of a French protest against higher diesel fuel prices, has a French flag when he occupies a roundabout in Somain, France, on Wednesday.

A man wearing a yellow vest, the symbol of a French protest against higher diesel fuel prices, has a French flag when he occupies a roundabout in Somain, France, on Wednesday.



On Friday before the weekend, the prime minister tried to get prominent golden jaunes around the negotiating table. Only two turned out, and one of them went out of the meeting a few minutes after it began and said he had been threatened with radical movements. The other left through the back door.

On Saturday, thousands of gilets jaunes Paris stormed and riots broke out, causing over 260 people to be injured and led to more than 370 arrests. Dozens of cars were burned and shop queues were crushed across central Paris. Near the southern city of Arles, a man died in a car accident at a gilet jaune road block. In Marseille, an older woman died after being hit by a tear gas can in her window in Marseille.

Visit Macron on the Arc de Triomphe from Buenos Aires on Sunday, and covered with graffiti that required his departure. Inside the monument, a face of a statue of the Marianne symbol of the French Republic – had been split.

In the Élysée Palace, Macron discussed with ministers how to contain a movement that could run its entire agenda. 19659004] On Tuesday, Philippe convened a closed meeting with legislators from Macron’s majority, one of whom said he told them that the government had decided to postpone the fuel tax increase in January by six months. Mr Macron’s five-year period, Philippe told them, “is in a critical moment.”

Write to Stacy Meichtry at [email protected] and Noemie Bisserbe at [email protected]

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