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Who are France's Yellow West protesters and what do they want? : NPR

Demonstrators gather near the Arc of Triumph during a protest on Saturday in Paris. &#821 1; / AFP / Getty…

Demonstrators gather near the Arc of Triumph during a protest on Saturday in Paris.

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Demonstrators gather near the Arc of Triumph during a protest on Saturday in Paris.

– / AFP / Getty Images

As part of its environmental policy strategy, France’s President Emmanuel Macron announced a green tax on fuel last month to come into force on January 1. The move resigned almost a month’s protests around France. The French Interior Ministry estimates 136,000 protesters showed up throughout the country during the weekend, apart from 280,000 previous weeks.

Nickname for the security guard carried by protesters, known as Gil’s Jaunes, The Yellow West Movement has given a political crisis to the French government. The protests started in the French provinces but spread to Paris where demonstrations were raging over the weekend and scenes of violent civil unrest sprang out along the city’s famous Avenue des Champs Élysées.

Who are the members of the Yellow West Movement and How did it come?

Originally, the yellow westerners were rural people who had to drive long distances as part of their daily lives. They said they could not afford the increase in fuel prices. Protests resembled pockets around France to quit Macron’s green treasure and quickly grew into a larger movement that includes members of the working and middle class expressing their frustration of sliding living standards. They say that their income is too high to qualify for social benefits, but too low for the end to meet. The move has no official leadership and was originally organized through social media.

The protests focus on Macron as the source of their problems. Along with his early reforms to solve labor laws and slash France, famous national taxes, fuel tax increases the protesters’ image of him as a nation’s president.

How were these protests violent?

Most yellow vests at blockades around France are peaceful protesters. Violent protests broke out in Paris last weekend, where rioters abused the Triumphal Arch and the grave of the unknown soldier, robbed shops, vandalized buildings and even the police arrested. The French authorities note that most of the violence and vandalism were called by anarchists called ” casseurs ” or rioters, ultra-left and ultra-right thugs. Paris police held 380 people in storage after Saturday’s riots. The city estimates total damage of $ 3.4 million.

What do the protesters want?

Their initial demand was to abolish the green tax on diesel. Now others want the current minimum wage (about $ 1,350 per month after tax) to increase. It has also been called to dissolve the National Assembly and hold new elections. There have even been chants of “Macron resign!”

The protests of “yellow west” began last month. Major demonstrations became violent in Paris during the weekend.

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The protests of “yellow west” began last month. Major demonstrations became violent in Paris during the weekend.

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Why do they wear yellow vests?

All French drivers are required to make yellow safety vests in their vehicles by law. Protestering drivers donned their obligatory yellow vests and created roadblocks around France. Now anyone who participates in the protests wears the yellow west, whether they are motorists.

What is the public response?

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for French media on Sunday, 72 percent of French people support the Yellow West, even after Saturday’s riots. But 85 percent responded to the violence. Four people have now died since the protests began three weeks ago. Three were killed in separate traffic accidents caused by roads founded by yellow vests, and an 80-year-old woman in Marseille died of injuries she received when a tear gas grenade struck her face when she closed her apartment windows for protests below.

Political leaders such as Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally and Jean-Luc Mélenchon from Left France’s Unbowed have attempted unsuccessfully to unlock the Yellow West. The inability of these two parties, who usually do well with groups who feel marginalized, signal that the Yellow West Indians are full of all figures in the political establishment.

How does the government respond?

Macron was in Buenos Aires for the G-20 summit during the weekend when protests became a riot. He condemned the violence from Argentina and said that those in charge of the chaos would be found and punished. After returning to Paris on Sunday morning, he went straight to the Arc de Triomphe and then held a crisis meeting with the top ministers. The Interior Minister has said that the government is considering explaining an emergency.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe today met with political party leaders in French parliament to discuss possible solutions to the crisis. Philippe was scheduled to meet with a delegation of yellow vests on Tuesday, but representatives were interrupted and cited personal security issues after receiving anonymous death threats. The government had already invited yellow westerners to speak last week, before Saturday’s riots, but the delegation abandoned the meeting when they learned that the discussions would not be filmed or broadcast.

The government will also hold debates in parliament on reforms and possible solutions, but will not necessarily include voting on proposals. The Prime Minister said he would announce new measures later this week in response to the crisis.

What are the consequences of this crisis for Macron?

Depending on the measures announced by the government this week, the French Government’s highest priority prevents more riots and ensures that the right security is in place at more protests. Macron has previously said that he does not reduce the fuel fee. Since his employment 18 months ago, the French president has pressured publicly on almost all his reforms, especially the liberalization of the labor market. But this is the biggest political crisis he has met so far, and it could decide the rest of his presidency.

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