LIFE and CULTURE

A Social Media Uproar Turns Into President Macron’s Worst Nightmare

One of the most popular revolts in 21st century that started as an online rebellion, is now
giving French President Macron a hard time in office. The revolt is already flipping the scales of economy and the protesters don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The “yellow vest” revolt erupted on November 17, 2018, after President Macron suspended a planned fuel tax hike that coincidentally, according to the protesters, favors the high-end citizens. The fuel tax is will be effective on the first day of 2019 and will see diesel fuel tax rise by 6 cents and gasoline fuel tax by 3cents. As a result, most people protested in social media platforms and soon the buzz was all over the
internet.
The movement’s members quickly took their protests in the streets and in particular lavish
neighborhoods. During the first protests, barricades were set on fire, luxury
shops destroyed, traffic lights uprooted and more than 20 people injured. Even
after the police arrested 100 people, some of the officers still were
injured.

So, How Big is The Movement?

During the first protest, nearly 300,000 people turned out nationwide. A week later less than
half of that number came the second day of protests. Last Saturday almost
75,000 protesters continued with their demonstrations early in the afternoon.
Reports say that “yellow vests’ movement is the worst Paris has ever seen in years.
What Happened in Paris?
Protesters looted shops, burnt several vehicles as the protest moved up to Champs Elysees Avenue, a
plush neighborhood. The Arc de Triomphe was also mercilessly looted and protesters
went artistic and filled the monument was covered in graffiti and painted
slogans. Some organizers of France “yellow vests” movement have dismissed the violence,
blaming other organizations for the hooliganism behavior.

How Deep is The Cut, Economically?

France Yellow Vests
CreditGeoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The three-week protest has already gloomed most shops, hotels, and restaurants, resulting in
huge losses. Some sectors saw their revenues hit by as much as 50 percent. For
instance, the blockage of various roads has forced openings of barriers and has
affected businesses that heavily rely on transport for daily operations.
Trucking federations, a renowned trucking company in France, reported the
company has suffered losses of around 400 million euros in terms of operating
costs.

How is the France ‘Yellow Vests” Movement Different from Other Protests?

This kind of movement started as a social media uproar and up to now, the organizers and
leaders are not well known. The government also blames the outright supporters
of the organization for the violence that has occurred across the country.
French president Emmanuel Macron ordered the Prime Minister to hold talks with members of the
public. Recently, the government tried to organize an impromptu meeting with
eight representatives, only for two to show up. One of the leaders of the
protests who showed up acknowledged that the movement would not settle for
less. France is on the brink of announcing a state of emergency should the
protests continue. Although some analysts say that “yellow vests” might not be
as serious as it seems, the movement could post a serious threat to Macron’s
bid for European elections happening next year.