These past few weekends have seen a tumultuous period in France's socioeconomic history, as protests erupted on the streets of Paris in response to a rise in fuel taxes. While that tax has since been rescinded and major reformations in economic policy have eliminated the original notions of taxing low-income pensioners and overtime pay, the movement against President Emmanuel Macron's government has transcended across the working and middle classes as an outcry against the increased costs of living in France — a clear clarion call of dissent that stands against the ideals that were promised by the recently-minted government.
President Macron was elected in 2017 to lead France on a campaign that was dedicated to helping establish much-needed economic reform and stability to lower class citizens in addition to an essential restoration of villages and neighborhoods with diminishing public services. Instead, his policies would have cut minimum income by approximately 20% and would also have caused an even more poignant division in the wage gap between the rich and poor.
The streets of Paris have seen considerable upticks in violent protests as groups of "yellow vest protestors" have demonstrated against the oppressive policies suggested by President Macron — an uprising that has left four dead. Approximately 1,000 people have been detained and hundreds injured as these dissenters clashed with the 90,000 officers deployed nationwide in response.
Six top-tier French football league matches were postponed as a result of the unrest, and national sites such as the Louvre were closed down in an effort to contain the situation. Despite the havoc wreaked by the protests, there is still widespread support for the movement, as evidenced by a poll held by French newspaper "Le Figaro" showing that 78% of respondents believe that the protestors are fighting in the best interests of the French Republic.
The proliferation of the Yellow Vest Movement through social media such as Facebook has led to its rapid dissemination amongst the general population, fueling anger against the Macron Administration for a perceived tyrannical rise in the cost of living.While the protests have died down in intensity since their initial violent inception, there is still an undercurrent of caution surrounding the citizenry and the government, as Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a continuous police presence across various regions of France (complete with armored vehicles) and popular tourist destinations such as the Eiffel Tower have remained shut down.