By: Eja Fromm
The Protests occuring in France are causing chaos throughout the country. These protests were sparked over the rise in gas prices.
In France, the Yellow Jackets are a group of protesters causing destruction and chaos over the increase in gas prices. Originally, the protest began as an online petition before it took to the streets.
From empty tear gas bottles all over the streets to graffiti on a national monument, the country is chaotic. Masked protesters wave the French flag as they set Paris ablaze.
The majority of angry citizens are middle-class. France already has the highest gas prices compared to the rest of the world with an average of six dollars per gallon.
Most of suburban France uses a car in their everyday life.. New York Times interviewed a protester who stated, “The nearest train only runs once an hour. Most everybody uses a car to get to their destination.”
On December fourth, 378 people were arrested as there were over 280,000 people protesting. The political crisis has caused millions of dollars in property damage.
On January 1st, the tax on gasoline went up around 12 cents per gallon. In 2020, the taxes will go up another 5 cents.
President Macron has refused to back down on the increase. His argument is that it will help decrease Frances dependence on fossil fuels and convince more people to buy more energy efficient vehicles.
Residents of France have taken a poll and found that only 26% of French people favor Macron, claiming “We’re fed up with the rising prices and the cost of living.”
In France, a citizen who earns about $30,675 per year is taxed at 30%, while in the US they would pay 12% in federal tax.
Famke Krumbmuller, an expert in French politics stated, “That is the challenge when reforming France. Whenever the reform is a little bit ambitious you’ll have the entire streets against you.”
As of December 23rd, the number of protesters has decreased dramatically. Many were tired of being attacked with tear gas and water cannons.
A video of a policeman surrounded by protesters spread widely as the officers pulled out a weapon after being pushed off his motorcycle. He didn’t fire but it shocked many in France.
Many claimed the holidays weren’t as festive as usual. Most of France wasn’t in a good mood during those times.
One of the major monuments that was defaced was the Arc de Triomphe. Damage to artifacts alone cost 1.15 million, graffiti not included.
The chaos is continuing to occur. For instance, on January 16th a protesting fireman was shot in the head by an officer, and is now in a coma.
This past weekend marks the eleventh week for the protests. Across the country there were about 32,000 protesters and 8,000 in Paris. These protests have inspired similar ones around Europe.
The Yellow Jacket protesters are still causing major fear across France. For now, Macron has asked for a national response on how to respond to the chaos.