In the third week of Paris’ outrageous “yellow vests” protest over high fuel prices and cost of living in France, the French government led by Emmanuel Macron is trying to figure out ways to end the worst street riots that the country has seen since 1968.
On November 17th, about 300,000 people from the small towns and villages of France – also called as “the other France” joined in protests against the rising living costs and, especially, higher taxes on automobile fuels. The protesters, most of whom belong to middle or working class, wore highly visible neon yellow vests, and that became the insignia of gilets jaunes and are called as the “yellow vests”. The extraordinary demonstrations reached some of the richest and post iconic places of Paris, with a simple motto of common Frenchmen – scrapping the tax hikes that President Macron had announced earlier this year.
The yellow vests protests initially started by rage against the high diesel and petrol prices and rising inequality in society, but it is ultimately the result of the ever-present unease in small cities, towns and villages of France that are becoming “the other France”, away from the rich Parisian boulevards. In a nutshell, Paris is burning with the worst street protests it has ever seen due to the resentment against the government’s agendas under the new fuel policies, slipping standards of living and the rising inequality in the two-faced society of France.
On Monday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe met with the Opposition to dig out ways to tackle the issue and President Emmanuel Macron conveyed a cabinet meeting to impose emergency in the country. Macron also led a crisis meeting seeking ways to end the worst social crisis in Paris, and the Philippe has been asked to meet political leaders and protest organisers to convey the message of a “constant wish for dialogue”.
However, Macron is still determined to not roll back the controversial fuel policy which is the root cause that sparked the yellow vest protest; and the protesters claim to continue the violent demonstrations until the government acts upon the issues. This could prove to be the biggest and the worst crisis for Emmanuel Macron’s presidency tenure, and it is a movement of the kind that was not seen since the French Revolution in 1798 during rule of King Louis 16, which “poses a serious political question” in the history of France, all over again.