Chaos In France: Over 1200 Arrests, Widespread Violence & Protests Force President To Break His Silence
To allay the ongoing protest in the country, French President Emmanuel Macron is all set to address the nation at 8.00pm on Monday. He will also meet trade union and employers’ organisations regarding the crises, reports BBC News.
President Macron is likely to announce measures in response to the violent protest going on for over four weeks against high fuel taxes, living costs and other issues in the country.
Yellow Vests protest
The protest instigated in lower-middle class rural France over eco-tax on fuels. This deeply rooted anger is seeing its fourth week of violent protest. What started over high fuel taxes has now expanded with students demanding changes in French High school exam and university’s entrance procedure. “Gilet Jaunes” movement is named after the trademark high visibility Yellow vests that are required to be carried in all French vehicles as per the French law.
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As the BBC report says, more than 136,000 people joined the protest on Saturday. The capital Paris has been severely affected as more than 10,000 “yellow vest” protesters smashed windows, burnt down cars and looted shops. Southwest city of Bordeaux was also affected on the fourth week of the riot. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said as reported by the Euronews “the protest in Paris is “under control” but called it “totally unacceptable.”
Impact of the protest
Reportedly, 89,000 police officers were deployed by the French authorities and following the violent protest, more than 1,200 were taken into custody. The people who were arrested in France had “a very similar profile to last week”, including many far-right and far-left agitators,” said chief prosecutor Remy Heitz as reported by Euro News.
According to hospital reports, more than 126 injuries have been registered so far. “Nearly 40% of those injured had left emergency services on Saturday night,” said the Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP). In the preparation of the protest, famous monuments and museums along with the shops remained closed.
Affecting French economy
The French finance minister has called the protest “a catastrophe” for the French economy. According to Le Parisien newspaper, the protest has caused millions of pounds of damage as more than 50 cars were burnt and a dozen businesses were destroyed and looted.
Reportedly, French retail federation told news agency Reuters- since the protests first began on 17 November, retailers have lost about €1bn ($1.1bn; £900m). Restaurants trade have seen a downfall of 20-50 per cent, said Mr Le Maire last week. Also, there are concerns that the protest can affect tourism as well.
No sign of easing the protest
Even though the government has scrapped the fuel tax increase and has also agreed to freeze electricity and gas prices for 2019, the demonstrations have shown little sign of easing. Although, the president has refused to agree to the other demands including the idea of a hike in the minimum wage, which was rejected by Penicaud, French public official on Sunday.
“We know that destroys jobs,” LCI television quoted Penicaud as saying. In an opinion poll on Friday, it was revealed that there is a dip in support of the protest. However, President Macron’s ratings have come down to 23 per cent amidst the “catastrophes”.