France’s ‘yellow vest’ protestors on Saturday returned to the streets. This is even as government’s spokesman denounced those still protesting, describing them as hard-liners who only want to bring down the government.
Despite the deployment of over 15 police wagons, hundreds of the protesters gathered on the Champs Elysee in central Paris while marches were also underway in several other cities across France.
On Friday, spokesman for the French government, Benjamin Griveaux denounced those still protesting as ‘agitators who want insurrection and, basically, to overthrow the government’.
Although the numbers turning out have fallen steadily since the start of the demonstrations in November, this is the eighth Saturday of protests called by the grass-roots movement.
However, Wednesday’s arrest of Eric Drouet, one the movement’s spokesmen sparked anger among his supporters. Drouet, who already faces trial for carrying a weapon at a previous demonstration, was picked up by Paris police and detained for about 10 hours.
Recently, an opinion poll published by Odoxa Dentsu, indicated a 55 percent public support for the ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations which are named after the high-visibility jackets worn by the protesters who are agitating over increased fuel taxes.
The protests snowballed into a wider revolt against President Emmanuel Macron’s pro-market policies and governing style. The demonstrations have also caused the biggest political crisis of his 20-month presidency.
Macron initially refused to make any concessions but in mid-December after weeks of violence, he scrapped the planned fuel tax rises and promised extra cash for minimum wage earners as well as tax cuts for pensioners.