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Home / World / The violence escalates as France struggles to respond to the demonstrators of the "Yellow Vest"

The violence escalates as France struggles to respond to the demonstrators of the "Yellow Vest"

PARIS – A third week of protest against President Emmanuel Macron's administration intensified on Saturday as demonstrators burned cars in Paris, shattered windows and resisted the riot police firing guerrilla leadership in the French capital's most severe crisis of tear gas.

The protests – diffuse, seemingly insignificant and organized via the Internet as a spontaneous outcry over high taxes and declining living standards – took a potentially more disastrous turn when left and right extremists, anarchists and members of the association joined organized labor, all from wanted to benefit from the smoldering dissatisfaction.

The protests were triggered by the government's decision to increase gas taxes in 2019 to help move towards more sustainable energy. But dissatisfaction has been building up for years. It reflects the bite of French payroll taxes, which are among the highest in Europe, and disposable income below that of other Western European countries.

General support for the "yellow west" movement showed no signs of weakening The government seemed completely surprised how it should react. It did not help the government that Macron was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 7,000 miles away, for the 20-year economic summit.

What began as a tense protest around the Arc de Triomphe erupted into several violent riots in the center of Paris. Eighty people had been injured in the early evening, including 14 policemen, and 183 were arrested by the police.

"We are committed to freedom of expression but also to respecting the law," he told Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who paid particular attention to the distinction between those who were willing to fight the police and those who with which the government was willing to speak.

"I am shocked by the violence of such a symbol of France" He said, referring to the clashes around the Arc de Triomphe and the graffiti with the inscription "Yellow Jackets Will Triumph" sprayed on them.

Some of the protests in Paris and elsewhere in the country were peaceful.

It was two weeks before the government protests that had given the demonstrators a cold shoulder agreed to meet with them. First, government officials offered to increase subsidies for the purchase of fuel-efficient cars and the installation of less polluting heating systems, but the demonstrators pointed out that this was inadequate, as many did not have enough money to buy a subsidized car themselves ,

Mr. Philippe then called a meeting with representatives of the Yellow Vest on November 30th. However, since the movement has neither a leader nor a representative, it was not clear whom he invited. The result was that only one or two yellow vests had appeared to Mr. Philippe in Matignon, a magnificent house in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.

The meeting was "interesting, open and respectful," said Philippe. added that the door was left open.

But the "open door" was undercut by other ministers who said publicly that the government's new gas taxes would not be pushed back.

do not go over well. A large group of yellow west in Paris marched peacefully with a banner saying, "Macron, stop taking us for stupid people."

Asked if this refers to mixed government messages, one of the marchers Holding the Border The banner said, "Of course. Who does he think we are? "

In many ways, Saturday's street confrontations in Paris, while packed on television, have masked the seriousness of the movement and its importance to the government. French politicians are accustomed to dealing with violent demonstrations: they occur several times a year, especially in Paris. Sometimes they are related to union strikes, but more often in the context of wider protests.

It is much harder for the government to engage with the Yellow West, which represents a wider section of the French population than any trade union that many belong to. It is not yet known that they are supportive.

Of course, it is possible that a reservoir of supporters will not become activists, but if they do, the government would be hard to deal with.

President Emmanuel Macron's dilemma is that French presidents, who have withdrawn from their tax programs under the pressure of the French road and have mitigated tax and other spending proposals, are considered weak and unable to make any significant change effect.

Mr. Macron, whose campaign and now his government are built on the promise of making necessary reforms in the French labor market and social security costs, would see his dream of bringing prosperity back to France and turning it into a 21st century economy

Problem, said Bernard Sananès, president of Elabe, a French electoral organization, reads: "There are two Frenchmen."

"One is a France that feels left behind", socio-economic, he said in an interview on December 1 in BFMTV, a French news channel.

A study published last week by the Jean Jaurès Institute, a public think tank, said: "Previously, these people could have given themselves some entertainment; Today, these little "extras" are unreachable. Several public opinion polls released last week suggest that 70 to 80 percent of French people are sympathetic to the Yellow West claim that President Emmanuel Macron and his government are "talking about the end of the World, while we talk about the end of the month. "

The slogan of the movement refers to the focus of Mr. Macron on reducing climate change by promoting fuel efficiency and increasing gas taxes, unlike French workers struggling to create it by the end of the month in terms of their revenue ,

The Yellow West subtracts their constituency from the majority of French who have observed that their salary payments are increasingly falling short of their cost of living. However, according to Eurostat, the statistical branch of the European Union, the situation in Eastern Europe is much better for the French.

The average disposable income of a person in a French household was 1,700 euros per month (1,923 USD) in 2016. The last year for which statistics are available, says Insee, the statistics authority of the French government.

The disposable income reflects the amount workers must spend on their daily necessities – housing, food, school, clothing – after paying income taxes, and payroll taxes and adjustments for any state subsidies they qualify for could.

Often, the only way to cut costs is to move to the suburbs of big cities where real estate prices are much lower, but in general, workers have to rely on a car to get to work and run errands. Cars need gasoline, and any increase in gas tax hits them. Taxes on tobacco and other goods have also increased.

For rural workers and those living in small villages in the heart of France, a car is even more necessary.

Macron, start campaigning for a more committed government response.

"You can not rule against the population," said François Bayrou, moderator of the moderate Democrats in Parliament, Mr. Macron's partners are Les Republiques En Marche's party in an interview on Europe 1.

He said he The answer was uncertain, but he said the government could not "add tax in addition to taxes."

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