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Explained: The Yellow Vest Protests

By: James Dartt

· Global Affairs

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the Yellow Vests Protests. At their height, there were nearly 300,000 protestors, with a whopping 80% of the French population supporting it. So, Here's a breakdown of the causes, the goals of the protests, the methods used, and accomplishments.

One quick thing to note is that this is not simply a left-wing versus right-wing issue. It's far more complicated than that, as many of the causes and goals can be argued to be left-wing and right-wing.

There are multiple smaller causes for these protests, such as a general hatred for the President of France Emmanuel Macron, as he had an approval rating of just 25% at the start of the protests. Another small cause includes the reduction of the speed limit from 90km/h (55.92mph) to 80 km/h (49.71mph). The change was opposed and a factor in the rise of the Yellow Vests Protests. It was seen as a tax and a lack of understanding of the needs of rural residents who rely entirely on their cars. But, by far, the most driving force was the increasing fuel prices, which were seen by the protesters to be caused by the increasing Fuel Tax. This increasing tax affected rural areas significantly, as people in those areas were reliant on their diesel and petrol cars to get places.
There are multiple goals of the Yellow Vests Protests, the major ones being the lowering of the Fuel Tax, the resignation of Macron and his government, and an implementation of Citizens' Initiative Referendums, allowing for citizens to petition for a referendum without needing the consent of the parliament or president. Smaller goals include an increase on the minimum wage, a tax on wealth, increased government transparency, improved standards of living, and an improvement in government services for rural areas.
We go into more detail about the protests on our website, but in short - These protests have been rather successful. On December 10th, Macron announced that the minimum wage would be increased. He also announced that there would be exclusions of charges and taxes on overtime hours. However, he also announced that there would be no increase of taxes on the wealthy.

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