Act VIII: Yellow Vests Take Over Streets Across France

Yellow vest protesters, who are demanding social justice in France, came out on Saturday, January 5 for their 8th massive mobilisation. Dwindling numbers during the holidays generated fears that the movement had waned, but after dinners and family gatherings, the people of France have retaken the streets.

At least 18 people have been arrested so far.

Protesters gathered in several points in Paris to later march to the National Assembly. As people gathered in the Champs-Elysees and the historic stock exchange, demonstrators called for Macron’s resignation and warned him the mobilisation is not a revolt, “it’s the revolution.”

“100 billion in tax evasion, no measures,” one protester denounced in a clear reference to the grass-roots movement for fiscal justice.

On Friday, the French government dismissed yellow vest protesters as agitators whose only goal was to topple it. The popular uprising that began with a rejection to a fuel tax has transformed into a movement for fiscal justice that has demanded President Emmanuel Macron, known to many as the “president of the rich”, to step down.

After President Macron’s first cabinet meeting of the year, during which he insisted law and order must be restored, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told reporters: “The yellow vest movement, for those who continue to protest, has become the thing of agitators who promote insurrection to topple the government.”

It’s not the first time the French government has dismissed yellow vest protesters. In November, when mobilisations began, Macron called them thugs. However, in mid-December, after weeks of protests, the president was forced to make concessions, including the elimination of the controversial fuel tax, a raise in the minimum wage, and tax cuts for pensioners.

“We must take the desire of the French for change to its fullest because it is this desire which brought us to power. . . . Maybe we have made too many concessions to conservatism, we’ll have to change that,” Griveaux said. However, it is not conservatism that has sparked protests but Macron’s anti-working class reforms, including a sweeping labor reform and pension reform.

Since Macron came to power in May 2017 he has seen his popularity slide to a record low as discontent with his policies grew.

According to a poll released on January 4, 55 percent of French people want the yellow vests to continue protesting.

Yellow Vest Women March Throughout France

And on Sunday, January 6, women “yellow jackets” all across France mobilised to show to the media that only reports violent events that the movement is essential peaceful.

Over 50,000 women gathered in front of the Place de la Bastille and in the Place de la République, in Paris, and others came together in Caen, Montceau-les-Mines, and Toulouse to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron’s austerity measures, including an increase in gas prices that the president eventually withdrew after months of previous street demonstrations.

Women in Toulouse marched with a large banner demanding Macron’s resignation. “Macron, if you do not come, we will come for you”, read some of the protest banners. “Macron your goose is cooked, the chicks are in the street,” read other signs.

In Paris, women sang France’s national anthem at the Bastille before marching through nearby streets.

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