The Speaker
Thursday, 18 July 2024 – 18:01

Oil Prices Spike and Spark Protests In France

After the second demonstration against the spike in prices in taxation on oil and gas the “Gilets Jaunes” marched on the Champs Elysee on Saturday, where they clashed with police and were struck with teargas and water cannons. The numbers of the crowd gathered at the Champs Elysee is only an estimate, but reported to be more than 8,000 protesters arriving in Paris, 5,000 of which were present at the Champs Elysee, which had to be closed off due to the riot. 

The weekends’s of protest have caused such upheaval in the political system that the new cheer of the crowd is calling for President Macron’s resignation.

Should the President be held accountable for the inflation on oil prices?

May 2018 saw investors in the EU oil industry flourish amongst the increasing prices of oil, especially in those whom held equity funds in the business, as prices rose higher than in the previous 4 years, which was effected by Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal, a large distributor of oil across the world. Is Iran now holding back oil reserves to drive the price of oil higher, in direct competition with the US?

“BP and Shell are the biggest members of the FTSE All-Share Oil & Gas Producers index [a benchmark of UK oil and gas stocks],” investment director, Russ Moul, claimed. “They will generally respond favourably to the higher oil price as the higher crude goes, the safer their fat dividend yields become.”

Since the spark was lit over fuel taxes, the debate has turned more widely to the criticism of Macron, with prominent members drawing comparisons and direct links to the oppressive tendencies of Macron’s government as well as precursors to the French Revolution. Over the past year, taxes on fuel has risen by 25% and the people have had enough.

With no party affiliation to connect these protests too, it is less likely to be easily squashed by mainstream political parties. Due to advances in technology, the ‘Yellow Vests’ aren’t only getting national support but an international audience and with the world as their stage, can Macron hold off until the end of these protests or will he crack under the pressure?

The tension is rising.

Amongst comments flying between ministers in office, trying to discredit the ‘gilet jaunes’ and parliament alike, there have been serious repercussions to this debate. 

Over the geographical area of France, over 2000 demonstrations took place, with over 280,000 participants, leading to clashes with the police and themselves, with more than 600 injured and two dead.

Worse still, one of the protesters on Friday took to new extremes, claiming he had personally equipped himself with a handmade bomb which he would detonate should the ‘yellow vests’ not be granted an audience with Prime minister Macron. Only after hours of negotiation with highly skilled experts, was the threat neutralized. 

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