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Yellow Vests vow to continue

In the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron's speech, in which he announced social grant concessions for the elderly and the poor, the Yellow Vests do not seem to be impressed. A follow-up demonstration is being planned for this Saturday, December 15.

Published: December 12, 2018, 7:46 am

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    The day after the speech by Macron on Monday, activists of the movement have called for an “Act V”. “Too little, too late, after too much violence (sic) and scorn!” said Eric Drouet on Facebook. He called on protesters to gather on Saturday.

    Priscillia Ludosky, the author of the original petition by the Yellow Vests noted: “Was all of this in vain? The tough road lies ahead of us. We must keep it up.”

    The presidential concessions have nevertheless had an impact, as reported in an OpinionWay poll for LCI. On Monday night, the concessions received an approval rating of between 60 percent and 78 percent for the four main measures announced.

    Didier Fulcrand, a Yellow Vest from Vaucluse told Marianne he was seduced by the return of tax-free overtime hours: “As a boss, frankly, I’m fine… It’s very good.”

    For most of the Yellow Vests interviewed, the French head of state appeared diminished, far from his confident display in the early days of his mandate.

    But many doubt the sincerity of the presidential apology. One said that the former Rothschild banker Macron’s mea culpa was a pure tactical statement, “only for us to stop”.

    More than 21 million people watched a visibly uncomfortable Macron declare a “state of economic and social emergency” in his televised speech.

    The measures announced will cost an estimated 8 to 10 billion euros and are likely to push France’s deficit above the EU’s mandated 3 percent limit of GDP, Richard Ferrand, a member of Macron’s party told RTL radio.

    According to opinion poll OpinionWay, 54 percent of the French questioned are in favor of ending the movement, while another survey, carried out after the speech by Emmanuel Macron by Odoxa for French daily Le Figaro showed that 54 percent of the French want the Yellow Vests to continue.

    The French Minister in charge of the budget, Gérard Darmanin, has called demonstrators on the Champs-Elysée “la peste brune”, or the brown plague, meaning fascists. Darmanin is incidentally of Algerian origin.

    Also the Jewish Chronicle and the Union of Jewish Students of France have declared their hostility to the Gilets Jaunes.

    French media personality Bernard-Henri Lévy, known as BHL in France, has been attacking the grassroots movement on Twitter and elsewhere, calling them #GiletsBruns [Brown Vests], also implying a link with historical fascism.

    According to figures cited by Reuters, some 450 schools in France held demonstrations on “Black Tuesday” while the Minister of Education minister announced that 60 high schools had to be shut down after clashes between police and students over the failing Macron’s education reform erupted during the week.

    Meanwhile reports of Yellow Vest-style protests were noted in Belgium, and to a lesser extent in The Netherlands, this past weekend.

    Egyptian authorities have quietly introduced restrictions on the sale of yellow reflective vests, fearing opponents might attempt to copy French protesters.

    Next month will see the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the Associated Press reported.

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