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Fri Dec 7, 2018, 12:21 AM

'Macron's arrogance unites us' - on the barricades with France's gilets jaunes

Grassroots citizens’ revolt against fuel tax rises has morphed into president’s biggest crisis. On the grass verge of a village roundabout north of Toulouse, Céline stood at a barricade built from pallets of wood and old tyres, a bonfire burning behind her. French flags were flying alongside signs calling for Emmanuel Macron’s resignation.

“I’m prepared to spend Christmas protesting at this roundabout with my children – we won’t back down and we’ve got nothing to lose,” said the 41-year-old, who voted for Macron in last year’s presidential election. “He gave good speeches and I really believed his promises that he would change France. But not any more.” Céline, a classroom assistant for children with special needs, earns €800 (£710) a month. She cannot afford rent so lives with her four children in a relative’s house in the suburbs of Toulouse, in the south-west of France.

“Macron’s first move in office was to slash the wealth tax for the mega-rich while cutting money from poor people’s housing benefits,” she said. “That is a serious injustice. The country is rising up and he’s staying silent, he’s hiding in an ivory tower, that’s what disturbs me, he’s not taking responsibility.”

At the roundabout barricade in Lespinasse, 20 people from surrounding villages – builders, nurses, workers in the local aviation industry – protested near a crucial fuel depot, wearing the yellow high-visibility vests that define France’s gilets jaunes movement. Passing trucks and cars beeped in support. Drivers leaned out of their windows and shouted “Don’t give up!”

This grassroots citizens’ protest, which began as a spontaneous revolt against fuel tax rises last month, has morphed into an anti-government and anti-Macron movement and is now the young centrist president’s biggest crisis. The demonstrators say that Macron is an arrogant would-be monarch. He presents himself abroad, they say, as a progressive hero who can hold back the tide of nationalism, but at home he symbolises a distant political elite, stoking distrust and pushing people towards populism.

“I always feared that there was an element of dictator in the way Macron did things,” said Robert, 64, a leftwing Toulouse carpenter and cabinet maker. “He’s well-presented and he speaks nicely – but he misread these protests because he thought he was the saviour of France. He wasn’t listening, he forgot the human factor.” Last Saturday saw the worst street unrest in central Paris in decades, as fringe elements of the otherwise peaceful protesters fought running battles with riot police and set cars alight. Tourist attractions and museums in Paris will be closed on Saturday, and the government has warned that thousands of rioters might come to the capital to “smash” or even “kill”. Yet gilets jaunes across France are determined to march in towns and cities this weekend anyway.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/07/macrons-arrogance-unites-us-on-the-barricades-with-frances-gilets-jaunes



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Reply 'Macron's arrogance unites us' - on the barricades with France's gilets jaunes (Original post)
ansible Friday OP
jberryhill Friday #1

Response to ansible (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2018, 07:35 AM

1. "pushing people towards populism"

So I’m supposed to believe that “Macron’s arrogance” is driving this?

Somehow I doubt that.

It’s striking how that is EXACTLY what the tea partiers said about Obama. As if there is a script.

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