With this speech Emmanuel Macron will not get his compatriots off the street. The French president tried to pacify the Yellow West movement on Tuesday morning. The demonstrators have now blocked hundreds of thousands of roads and intersections over two weekends, paralyzed shopping malls and occupied tax authorities. „I understand,“ Macron said, „we’re talking about the end of the world to save the climate, you do not know how to make ends meet at the end of the month.“ However, the French liberal had no answer to the new French rageers.
The demonstrations began when Macron’s government announced a tax increase of three cents a liter of gasoline and six cents a liter of diesel. The more expensive fuel was ultimately just the spark that made the smoldering dissatisfaction with Macron to blaze. According to polls, most yellow-vests are not even regular motorists – they are above all neglected by a president who too often turns to a wealthy elite, the founders and self-employed in the country.
Again, Macron promised once again not to change his policy, but to change the methodology. „Our new environment commission will work out concrete solutions over the next three months,“ he promised. The body should advise the government. However, three months is an eternity for people who are organizing tens of thousands on Facebook and telling every camera that they do not know how to buy Christmas presents for their grandchildren, children or sisters.
„He did not give us anything“
The Yellow West had gathered in bars and cafés on Tuesday to hear Macron’s answer. According to their ideas formulated on Facebook, they expected new taxes for the wealthy, less taxes for the poorer, a higher minimum wage or free buses and trains for the poor. Demands without echo. Although Macron’s announcements to triple the number of wind turbines and quintuple the number of solar panels were ecologically correct – but his audience with the safety vests only frustrated them once more. Because this renewable energy program has been negotiated for months and has nothing to do with the protests.
„He gave us nothing,“ was then the unanimous opinion on Facebook. Even Matthieu Orphelin, a member of the governing party, was not enthusiastic about the speech: „I’m disappointed, why do we need a three-month commission again, we know the answers, spend some money to isolate apartments, and find cheap alternatives for the car „he announced on Twitter.
Macron had first tried to take up the arguments of the yellow vests. Had he just a few days ago talked about the violence of the demonstrators and suspected they were actually partisans of the conservative Republicans or the right-wing extremist Rassemblement National, he tried this time to understand. „Who lives in poorly insulated houses? Who breathes the air polluted by cars? Those are our socially disadvantaged fellow citizens,“ he cried. For his environmental program including the higher gasoline taxes is intended.
Movement without a head
It can be felt that Macron wrestles with the right answer to the movement of the Yellow West, which was surprising and spontaneous. Demonstrations in France are usually organized by parties, trade unions or farmers‘ organizations. But this time there is no head of movement. Although eight spokespeople have been elected to Facebook, but just as many yellow vests reject these „self-appointed bosses“ and organize unspoken actions. The Resiters communicate on Facebook about the next activities or place signs at roundabouts and intersections to promote the next blockade. Safety vests everyone has in the car, a membership of the group is therefore easy to create.
In Nice, southern France, a few retirees robbed the tax authorities to protest higher taxes in their opinion. In other cities, it was nurses who blocked intersections. And again and again, right – wing extremist Rassemblement National – formerly Front National has organized demonstrations. Marion Maréchal, niece of party leader Marine Le Pen and actually retired from politics a year and a half ago, was on Saturday at the Champs Élysée.