Several hundred anti-Macron Yellow Vest protesters returned to Paris and other French cities Saturday to continue their now two-month-long demonstration against the French government.
Launched in November over French President Macron’s attempt to pursue green policies by making car ownership unaffordable through punitive fuel taxes, the Yellow Vest movement has since transformed into a broader protest group that pulls in activists from across the political spectrum.
Macron’s back on the offensive https://t.co/9B811MhZBA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 1, 2019
One of the key demands now being pushed by protesters after Macron bowed to pressure in December and gave in on the green taxes is the introduction of so-called Citizen Initiative Referendums, or ‘RIC’.
Under the plans called for by the marchers, any petition in France that gained 700,000 signatures would be legally required to be put to a binding national referendum, with politicians forced to honour the results. The votes could be used to create or change laws, amend the constitution, and even fire the President.
New polling this week revealed the French public overwhelmingly support the idea, which if implemented would have the impact of dramatically reducing the power of politicians and handing it to the people. Some 80 per cent of French are thought to support of the initiative, while 47 per cent believed the Macron government was going to ignore the public.
Protests took place outside French Mainstream Media Headquarters https://t.co/Ymiag7YBfA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 29, 2018
Now in its eighth week, Saturday’s march saw fewer marchers than the tens of thousands seen nationwide in November, but also less of the violence that has marred some marches. Some political observers including populist leader Marion Marechal have suggested the violence was visited upon the marches by hard-left agent provocateurs using the grassroots movement as a pretext for violence.
Ahead of the protest on Friday, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux criticised the movement, saying those taking to the streets are “agitators who want insurrection and, basically, to overthrow the government.”
Anger among the protesters intensified this week after prominent Yellow Vest organiser Eric Drouet was arrested by police who said he’d organised an illegal demonstration. So far 216 Yellow Vest activists are in jail either sentenced or awaiting trial, and over 4,5000 were arrested in relation to the protests in 2018.