Protests broke out in France on November 17, 2018. Almost three hundred thousand protestors wearing bright yellow jackets took to the streets across the country that day. Since then, several protestors have taken to the streets. Though most of these yellow-vest protests have been peaceful, the one in Paris has deteriorated into the most serious rioting the capital has seen in years.
What are these people protesting?
The protesters are upset with the French government and their leader Emmanuel Macron.
The working class is struggling to make ends meet as business and political conditions have made it harder to make money. This round of protests was triggered by an announcement that that fuel taxes will be raised again.
The price of diesel, the most commonly used fuel in French cars, has risen by around 23% over the past 12 months to an average of €1.51 ($1.71) per litre. It’s reached the highest point since the early 2000s (AFP news agency reports).
Why did the government increase taxes?
One of the biggest causes of climate change is cars burning fuel — like diesel and petrol. The French government recently made fuel more costly by adding some taxes. The government raised its hydrocarbon tax this year by 7.6 cents per litre on diesel. This is a tax put on the carbon content of fuels. The French government wants to support renewable energy sources with the money collected from these taxes. These taxes are also meant to encourage people to use greener modes of transportation instead of burning diesel in their cars.
France’s government was planning to raise fuel taxes AGAIN this coming January.
How has the government reacted to the protests?
Édouard Philippe is the prime minister of France. He announced that the government has put the new taxes that were going to be implemented in January 2019 on hold for six months. The leader said this tax wasn’t worth “putting the unity of the nation in danger.” The new taxes will be on hold for six months.
The President, who is a huge supporter of the Paris Agreement, plans to meet with peaceful protestors and understand their agony!