A Analysis

The Gilets Jaunes in France enter their ninth week of protests

Photo Credit: Jeanne Menjoulet on Flickr under Creative Commons licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

From 50,000 protestors last week to 84,000 people marching in the streets of Paris this weekend in what is considered one of the worst riots Paris has had in decades. 

The French Interior Ministry has reported that 244 have been detained in the cities of France with at least 53 arrested.      

Barricades continue across the streets along with 5,000 officers deployed in the capital, shops covered up and images of burnt cars and flares resurfacing across social media. Last week protestors also attempted to smash into the government ministry with a forklift truck.

The number is only increasing in condemnation of Macron’s economic policies favouring the wealthy in France. His concessions from the 10 billion euro financial relief package to suspending the planned fuel tax has proved unsuccessful as the public call for immediate resignation. 

Macron now plans to hold a three-month national debate next week to hear the voices of voters and assuage public fury. The topics he plans to draw on include the tax system, state reforms, citizenship and many more.

But what do France’s politicians think? It was no doubt that Marine Le Pen, France’s far right leader of the National Front would support the movement as she accuses Macron of “blindness” and “intransigence” on his poor cooperation to ameliorate the protests. As her sympathy continues, she has now launched her campaign for the European Parliament elections in May to appeal to the movement.

Recent polls have shown that Macron’s approval ratings have improved 5% more following the protests but another poll conducted reports that 59% of French citizens believe 2019 will be marked by economic difficulties, and 48% of that sample believe they will be worse off by the end of Macron’s presidency in 2022. 

As the pressure and momentum continues in France, it is no doubt we will see protests follow through onto its 10th week.