Macron On Edge As Up To 120,000 Angry "Yellow Vests" Prepare To Storm The Bastille
3 December, 2018
The government is increasingly worried that the economy, alongside its own political fortunes, is threatened by demonstrations against fuel taxes that have spiraled into a push-back against Macron’s policies.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the impact of the riots was “severe,” and left a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels to return to Paris for crisis talks with colleagues. -Bloomberg
In order to make the tax cuts work, the French government will need to find ways to cut spending that doesn't hobble growth, as well as tax measures that will stimulate the economy.
For Macron, the stakes are high as he doesn’t want to damage the credibility he needs to push for reforms in Europe. The European Commission has already said his existing budget is at risk of non-compliance with EU rules.
According to Marc Touati, economist and president of business consultancy ACDEFI, Macron may be forced to take a more radical approach, even if that means the deficit slipping a bit. -Bloomberg
Toll-road operators Vinci SA and Eiffage SA meanwhile have seen their share prices decline as they have opened toll booths to let cars pass freely.
Whatever Macron has planned, he better act fast - as there are currently 15,000 angry French Yellow Vests signed up for next Saturday's protests in Paris; three times as many as last weekend, while 104,000 are a "maybe."
Pam Anderson, meanwhile, has also weighed in on the issue:
Approximately 136,000 demonstrators donning yellow reflective vests were recorded across France on Saturday - of which approximately 5,500 protested in the French capital according to the interior ministry. The previous weekend saw 166,000 demonstrators, and 282,000 the week before that.
Amid the chaos, an 80-year-old woman was killed in Marseille when a police tear-gas canister was launched into her apartment window while she was trying to close the shutters. She was taken to a nearby hospital but died during an operation after suffering shock, according to a local media report. She has become the third casualty in the demonstrations which began three weeks ago.
On Monday, Macron held an urgent security meeting - after which ministers said that while "no options have been ruled out," they had not discussed a state of emergency as had been previously reported.
Conservative leader Marine Le Pen who attended the meeting warned that Macron could become the first French president to order troops to open fire on his own people in 50 years, and that he should abandon his plan to raise taxes on fuel while lowering gas and electricity prices.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire met with business representatives to assess the damage caused to businesses over the weekend.
"The impact is severe and ongoing," Mr Le Maire told the AFP news agency.
Some retailers had seen sales drop by around 20-40% during the demonstrations, while some restaurants had lost 20-50% of their takings, he added. -BBC
It is unclear if the ambulance drivers are part of the Yellow Vest movement - however recent polls have shown that most of France supports their cause.