Macron Placates “Yellow Vests”

Will Frost, Staff Writer

On April 25, French president Emmanuel Macron delivered a statement that extended a proverbial olive branch to the violent “yellow vest” protesters. The speech was originally scheduled for April 15 but was delayed after the tragic Notre Dame fire. In his speech, Macron recognized “mistrust” in the government and his leadership. The president acknowledged that he could have made a “wrong turn” in regards to his fiscal policy. He outlined potential income tax and fuel tax cuts to placate the disgruntled populous.

Last November, France erupted in the infamous “yellow vest” protests. The protests emerged in response to gas tax increases to fund new, eco-friendly policies by the administration. November through late January saw massive protests every weekend in some of France’s largest cities, which quickly grew violent and destructive. After January the protests dampened down somewhat, however, they never really went away fully.

This was Macron’s latest attempt to salvage his beleaguered presidency. Last week, he attempted to separate himself from his elitist past by shutting down the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, an institution notorious for pumping out future presidents, including Macron himself.

Macron is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he has violent, right-wing protesters that win more people over every day, that he has to placate with tax cuts. On the other hand, a majority of the country still leans to the left, wanting to continue the eco policies that the tax increase was meant to endorse. He has made use of the national tragedy of Notre Dame to perhaps have his cake and eat it too. Perhaps a different metaphor in light of France’s history…