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President Macron; Yellow Vests. Photo supplied

French police remove helmets in solidarity with Yellow Vests

The ongoing Yellow Vest protest in France against rising fuel tax nationwide since 17 November,  is supported by the police too.

Published: December 4, 2018, 8:43 am

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    Paris

    A video of French police officers removing their helmets in a gesture of solidarity with the protesters has gone viral on social media.

    The officers received loud applause from the Yellow Vest protesters who have to shoulder President Macron’s climate change agenda, with tax on diesel rising 23 per cent in just 12 months.

    Paris has witnessed the worst unrest has seen since 1968, posing a formidable challenge to Emmanuel Macron.

    Two dozen policemen dressed in heavy in riot gear, apparently on duty, were facing Yellow Vest demonstrators when they started taking off their helmets.

    As the officers in the town of Pau in southwestern France, removed their headgear, protesters were heard singing the French national anthem and cheering them.

    On social media, the show of solidarity with the Yellow Vests, was widely welcomed.

    But President Macron’s troubles are far from over. After the Yellow Vest protests this weekend, it is now the turn of ambulance workers to show their anger.

    Early on Monday morning there were more than a hundred ambulance workers blocking access to the Place de la Concorde. They demand the suspension of a reform related to the financing of transport.

    Screaming sirens, firecrackers, and cheers were heard on the square as hundreds of paramedics took advantage of social anger against the Macron to make themselves heard.

    At the beginning of November, hundreds of paramedics had already blocked the Paris ring road. Article 80 of the draft Social Security Budget 2017, which came into force on 1 October, has caused great unhappiness. Until now, it was up to the patients themselves to choose which ambulance companies they wanted to use. With this reform, the rules of the game have changed and it is now hospitals and clinics that choose their ambulances by tender.

    Small ambulance workers fear big groups are trying to smash competition.

    It looks like Macron is increasingly following the same path of former President Hollande. If the trend in the polls continues,  it would become highly unlikely for the French leader to reach the runoff in 2022.

    Also the protests have been spreading to other countries. Similar action has been seen in Brussels in Belgium, and The Hague in the Netherlands.

    After the third weekend of protest in Paris, Macron’s spokesman confirmed that introducing a state of emergency would be an option.

    Impeaching a French president is a complicated procedure and his party currently leads by a large majority in the National Assembly, so it is virtually impossibile to remove Macron from office before 2022.

    Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has meanwhile cancelled his appearance at the COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland.

    Masked, black-clad groups infiltrated the demonstration in central Paris on Saturday, torching cars and buildings, looting shops, smashing windows and attacking police officers.

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