It’s rare for politicians to deliver on campaign promises. But French president Emmanuel Macron did. He promised a revolution, and got one. Unfortunately for Macron, the revolt is against his own policies.
Bloomberg comments on France’s Dangerous Yellow Vest Protesters.
The “Yellow Vests” protests now challenging President Emmanuel Macron have exposed a widening hole in the center of French politics—created by Macron himself.
It was Macron whose election in May 2017 all but obliterated the two establishment parties that had run France for 30 years. His own political movement had been launched less than a year before and his closest opponent for the presidency was from the far-right. By positioning himself as a reformer, Macron, 40, had hoped to establish a centrist consensus.
“The ‘gilets jaunes’ movement will probably peter out, but not the anger, which is likely to go on and take new forms maybe more dangerous for Macron,” said Jim Shields, a professor of French politics at Warwick University in the U.K. “It’s hard to see how he can complete controversial reforms like pensions and unemployment insurance without yet more blood on the pavement.”
A protest Saturday in Paris exploded into violence that left over 100 injured and more than 400 arrested, as well as burned cars and looted stores in the heart of the capital. Named after the colored vests motorists must keep in their cars for emergencies, the campaign began as a protest against higher gasoline taxes to reduce emissions. It’s now expanded to other demands and has the support of three-quarters of the French public, polls show.
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