END OF MACRON: Will protests topple Macron in France as French fuel RUNS DRY?

Monday, December 3, 2018
By Paul Martin

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron is facing the biggest challenge to his presidency since taking office as violent protests rocked Paris over the weekend and the gulf between the government and public widened. So will the protests topple him?

Mon, Dec 3, 2018

The so-called “yellow vest” revolt caught President Emmanuel Macron by surprise when it erupted first on November 17. Protesting against Mr Macron’s economic reforms, the yellow vests torched cars, looted boutiques and smashed up private homes and cafes in some of Paris’s most affluent neighbourhoods. The impromptu rebellion began as an uprising against fuel prices but has morphed into a broader outpouring of public anger over living costs.

The 40-year-old president is now battling for his premiership as his popularity takes a massive plunge over his reforms, which are seen by many as favouring the wealthy.

The widespread riots overran police and hit the French economy – hotel reservations are down, retailers are suffering, unsettling investors, and Total said some of its filling stations were running dry.

The yellow vest movements members come principally from a middle-class, blue-collar background, but members and supporters cut across age, job profile and geographical region.

The movement has no clear leadership, posing another stumbling block for a government already struggling to engage.

The group’s clear demand is a freeze on further fuel tax hikes, the next of which is due in January, as well as measures to bolster spending power.

But the yellow vests have some more radical, fringe elements, and there are widespread calls growing for a revolution and the ousting of Mr Macron.

Mr Macron says the fuel tax increases are part of his effort to combat climate change, wanting to persuade French drivers to exchange diesel-fuelled cars for less polluting models.

He said on Saturday he would not deviate from his policy goals.

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