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  Yellow vests

  19 Debates

About 28,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the yellow vest protests in France, according to the French Interior Ministry. One year ago just under 300,000 people went out to denounce high petrol prices and social inequalities. Despite dwindling interest in the movement, commentators take the opportunity to reflect on its social and political significance.

France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner is being accused of spreading false information. He was forced to revoke his accusation that demonstrators on May 1 had attacked a hospital after video footage emerged showing that the demonstrators in question had ran into the hospital to escape riot police. Commentators are outraged, but also point to weak points in the criticism of Castaner.

A video of the yellow vest protests on Saturday in Paris shows demonstrators taunting police by telling them to kill themselves. The prosecutor's office in Paris has now opened an investiation to find those who might be prosecuted for a group offence toward persons exercising public authority. Police officers have been demonstrating for better working conditions, complaining that the number of police suicides has doubled since the start of the year. Commentators are appalled by the behaviour of the demonstrators.

The Ecole Nationale d'Administration (Ena) is the elite university where France's top officials are trained. President Macron now wants to close the school down, apparently in reaction to the yellow vest protests, according to a text for a televised speech Macron was to give on Monday evening that was dropped due to the Notre-Dame blaze. Commentators are dismayed.

The French government is cracking down after yellow vest protests turned violent last Saturday. It has announced partial bans on demonstrations and is not excluding the possibility of making preventive arrests again. Counter-terrorist army units are also to be deployed to protect certain locations. Journalists ask what effect this hard line will have and what image France is projecting.

Part of the French yellow vest protest movement have announced plans to run in the European elections in May. Ten names are already on their list, led by Ingrid Levavasseur, a nurse from Normandy and one of the movement's best-known faces. Journalists see the move as having reshuffled the cards in French politics.

The yellow vest protests of recent weeks have not only been marked by confrontation with the police. Demonstrators have also attacked journalists and blocked printing facilities to prevent newspapers from being delivered. The yellow vests accuse many media of unobjective and biased reporting. France's press voices concern about the state of freedom of opinion.

In view of the ongoing yellow vest protests French President Macron has announced in a "Letter to the French" that he wants to engage in dialogue with the population. Thirty-five topics ranging from taxes to democracy and environmental protection to immigration are to be discussed in open forums throughout the country. What are the chances of this attempt at reconciliation succeeding?

The former heavyweight boxer Christophe Dettinger was filmed punching police officers in Paris on Saturday during protests by the yellow vests. Because he now faces a prison sentence supporters donated almost 120,000 euros for him in a single day. France's press is scandalised.

France's government wants to pass tougher demonstration laws to crack down on violence at protests. The new legislation could be modelled on the laws dealing with football hooligans. There were once again violent incidents during the yellow vest protests on Saturday. Commentators are unconvinced that the violence will end anytime soon.

A report published by the US Senate confirms the findings of the US intelligence agencies that Russian agents used social media to sway the US presidential election campaign in Donald Trump's favour. Facebook and co. also played a key role in mobilising the yellow vest protests in France.

The French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner ordered the police to clear the last of the yellow vests' barricades on Monday. Only 33,000 people across the nation took part in the protests on the weekend, according to official accounts. While some commentators see the movement on its last legs, others hope it will get a second wind.

French politicians have called on the yellow vests to end their protests following the attack in Strasbourg. However, the protesters seem to be sticking to their guns and plan to demonstrate again this coming Saturday. A look at Europe's press indicates that their anger won't evaporate so quickly because it is a symptom of profound social disparities in Europe.

Macron's concessions to the yellow vest protesters are set to cost eight to ten billion euros per year, according to the French government. Although the danger exists that France could exceed the deficit limit set by the EU, Brussels has sent nothing but positive signals. Some commentators are incensed that the French can apparently pick and choose precisely what suits them best.

After ten days of silence on the sometimes violent protests of the yellow vest movement, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced further concessions in a televised speech. The monthly minimum wage is to be increased by 100 euros and citizens are to have more say in policy decisions. Journalists see Macron as having adopted the right tone in his speech but aren't sure this will be enough.

125,000 yellow vests took to the streets in protest across France on the weekend. The demonstrators are now not only protesting against higher fuel taxes but also demanding changes in social policy. In view of renewed violence in Paris and other cities commentators ask whether the movement has squandered its opportunity to have a real say in political decision-making.

After a crisis meeting between President Macron and his government the tax hike on fuel is off the table for the time being. Prime Minister Philippe said on Tuesday that the "unity of the fatherland" must not be endangered. The yellow vests have nevertheless announced that they will once again take to the streets this weekend. What impact will the government's concessions have?

French President Macron is apparently back-pedalling in the wake of the violence during protests by the yellow vests on the weekend. Government sources indicate that the hike in the environmental tax on diesel and petrol will not come into effect. Journalists seek to explain why the people of France are so angry.

In a speech on the energy transformation on Tuesday Emmanuel Macron reacted to the demands put forward by yellow vest protesters. He proposed to base fuel tax hikes on the price of oil and launch a nationwide three-month consultation on the social aspects of the energy transformation. Will the French president be able to appease the yellow vests with this approach?