At least 31,000 ‘yellow vests’ protesting across France, 700 detained

Macron’s U-turn

Macron this week gave in to some of the protesters’ demands for measures to help the poor and struggling middle classes, including scrapping a planned increase in fuel taxes and freezing electricity and gas prices in 2019.

But the “yellow vests”, some of whom who have become increasingly radicalised, are holding out for more.

Protests at dozens of schools over university reforms, and a call by farmers for demonstrations next week, have added to a sense of general revolt.

The hardline CGT union, hoping to capitalise on the movement, has called for rail and metro strikes next Friday to demand immediate wage and pension increases.

‘President Of The Rich’

Macron’s decision early in his presidency to slash taxes on France’s wealthiest is particularly unpopular with the protesters.

Arguing that such a move was necessary in order to boost investment and create jobs, the former investment banker has so far ruled out re-imposing the “fortune tax”.

But the policy, along with hikes on pensioners’ taxes, cuts in housing allowances and a string of comments deemed insensitive to ordinary workers, has led critics to label him a “president of the rich”.

Macron had previously vowed to stay the course in his bid to shake up the French economy and not be swayed by mass protests that have forced previous presidents to back down.

The climbdown on higher fuel taxes — which were intended to help France transition to a greener economy — marked a major departure for the centrist president.