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World & Current Events > What are the protests in France about?

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message 1: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments I've been watching the news here in U.S. about the protests in France, and not once has anyone explained why the French are protesting against Macron. What's going on?


message 2: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments Here's an article from our national broadcaster that might shed some light for you. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-0...


message 3: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments The article says that the reasons for the protests "are not entirely clear." That's what I'm getting from news programs here. So I'm still wondering what people are so violently protesting.


message 4: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments There's a section where the article says: 'The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets French motorists have to keep in their cars, erupted in November over the squeeze on household budgets caused by fuel taxes.

Demonstrations have since swelled into a broad, sometimes-violent rebellion against Mr Macron — a challenge made more difficult to handle since the movement has no formal leader.'

The article then goes on to elaborate.

The section where it says 'not entirely clear' refers to Belgium and the Netherlands.


message 5: by Scout (last edited Dec 08, 2018 11:19PM) (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments You're right. I just went back and read the article again. It seems that the French "continue to demand more concessions from the Government, including lower taxes, higher salaries, cheaper energy costs, better retirement provisions and even Mr Macron's resignation." The most contention seems to be about higher fuel costs. It does seem to me that there's something more to this anger and unrest, but maybe it is that simple. It doesn't make sense to me because those aren't things that would bring violent crowds into the streets to call for the President's resignation here in the US.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10748 comments From what I can make out, it is because Macron has altered the taxes and benefits such that the changes strongly favour the rich, and thus increases the inequality.

The difference between Macron and Trump seems to be that Macron has raised taxes, Trump lowered them, but only just for the poor, and is increasing the national debt very strongly. The French actually have a tradition of coming out onto the streets like this. So far, at least, they have not stormed the Bastille


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 213 comments My first thought is that to understand anything going on outside the US, it's best to look for non-US sources of news. I'm actually impressed that news in the US is even aware of the troubles in France, but I wouldn't expect you to find any insightful analysis there.

The ABC report that Leonie linked to gives a good rundown, and contains a lot of information similar to the many detailed reports on BBC news.

And the other Ian already pipped me to the post with the observation that the French protest like this at the drop of a hat. Usually it's large well-organized groups like farmers or truckers striking and bringing the country to a halt any time some legislation threatens their gravy train. But this sounds a lot more widespread and grass roots, as fuel taxes affect most of the population. It doesn't help that the government has an equally long tradition of caving in, so everyone knows that violent protests over there do actually work.


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14953 comments Here too, I read that Russia is suspected to add some oil into the fire through social networks. True or not, but a Russian hand is seen everywhere these days -:)


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14953 comments Scout wrote: "It doesn't make sense to me because those aren't things that would bring violent crowds into the streets to call for the President's resignation here in the US. ..."

The French are essentially against the high cost of living. Prima facia, maybe a bit similar to Occupy Wall Street.
Out of curiosity took a look on civil unrest in the US. Many seem to follow instances of police brutality:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14953 comments Ian wrote: "It doesn't help that the government has an equally long tradition of caving in, so everyone knows that violent protests over there do actually work. .."

Isn't it everywhere though? The tectonic and lesser changes throughout the history rarely 'evolved', but were rather brought about through violent protests. That's how republics succeeded monarchies, labor rights got formalized, gender and racial equality promoted.


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10748 comments Whatever else, it appears to have worked. Macron has given in has rolled a lot of financial concessions. Hopefully they will all go home now.


message 12: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments Well, all right, protesters. Why do protests in France bring immediate change, whereas in the U.S., nothing really changes due to protests? For example, the Occupy protests.


message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10748 comments Maybe the French do it better. In the US, protests seems to be small and polite. In France they are huge and they keep going.


message 14: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments So determination wins the day?


message 15: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10748 comments Yep. Persistence actually works, and not just in protests :-)


message 16: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2250 comments Probably because those thousands of French protesters we see on TV represent a much larger percentage of the French population then the thousands we saw during Occupy. It's easier to say any given protest doesn't represent the majority of people in the US, especially when those sentiments don't translate at the polls. If Occupy truly represented the sentiment of the country as a whole, the Republicans wouldn't have picked up seats in Congress throughout Obama's Presidency.


message 17: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Here too, I read that Russia is suspected to add some oil into the fire through social networks. True or not, but a Russian hand is seen everywhere these days -:)"

I know, right? I believe the jury is still out on whether or not Fancy Bear played a role. But given the extent to which that Russian cyber group has been implicated in meddling in European elections, it was inevitable they'd be accused.


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10748 comments If the Russians did do some hacking/encouraging in France, I am sure it was irrelevant, other than maybe being a straw of the proverbial camel. The average Frenchman was just sick of the inequality, and the fact that Macron was making it worse by favouring the rich. The average American seems to think along the lines, "That's fate". The French seem to think that sooner or later it is time to do something about it, and something, as often as not, is setting the streets on fire.


message 19: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) It's not being claimed they caused it, but that they've been posting all kinds of fake stories and misinformation on social media to exacerbate the crisis and polarize opinion on it. The most popular items seem to be false claims about violence on behalf of both the protesters and the police.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/e...
https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.p...


message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10748 comments Yes, they will certainly be doing what they can to stir the pot.


message 21: by Graeme (last edited Dec 17, 2018 11:59PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan The bottom line is that the average French people are noticing how much they are paying to live, and are getting rather annoyed.

The fact that Macron is adept at looking like he doesn't care about them doesn't help.

Macron is more unpopular in France, then Trump is in the USA.

Macron: 25% https://www.thelocal.fr/20181118/macr...

Trump: 44% https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/do...

The essential cause of the protests is 'cost of living,' and 'social inequality,' with the carbon tax on fuel as the ignition switch igniting underlying resentments.


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