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Protests Over Taxes in France

Civil unrest in Paris after a regressive tax was proposed

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Protests Over Taxes in France

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Burning cars, tear gas, and violence; all are currently going on in France. Why is this chaos happening? The answer is actually quite simple: New Fuel Taxes. On November 17th, 300,000 people in France took to the streets to protest Emmanuel Macron’s policy of increasing the taxes on fuel. Ever since the protests started, they have become increasingly violent and widespread. While there is a lot to say about the protests, it is important to analyze the cause and effects of them.

Concerned about the state of France, Zach Yelich reads about civil unrest.

Ever since Macron was elected as president of France, he has made addressing climate change a centerpiece of his administration. Due to this, he has tried to lead the world in converting to renewable energy by both investing in green energy, and handicapping the fossil fuel industry via regulations and taxes. This agenda was mostly all sunshine and rainbows, that is, until Macron planned to raise the taxes on fuel, therefore increasing the cost for middle and lower class citizens. As expected, this policy did not sit well with the public. After the new tax was announced, the French people took to the streets, earning the monicker “The Yellow Jackets” because they all wore reflective neon vests. The vests are worn to represent the working class that is opposing Macron. According to the protesters, Macron has forgotten the working class, and has pursued policies that are supported by the elite. The fuel taxes make it even harder for the French working class to live, as they rely on fuel for their homes and transportation.

Explaining his view of Macron and his policies, Preston Reuscher speaks to reporter Matt Zayas

As the protests continued, they became increasingly violent with protesters burning cars and looting shops. As a response to the increase in violence, the French government has also resorted to violent tactics, such as using tear gas on the protesters. Due to this chaos, Macron has declared a state of emergency, and has decided to suspend the extra tax for 6 months. Even though he has decided to delay the implementation of the tax, there is still outrage, as the French people do not want the tax at all. This is a bad sign for Macron, as it’ll likely cause him to lose his reelection bid, and drive the country further to the populist right. This is evident by the fact that former French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has gained massive support amidst the riots and social unrest. This comes as no surprise, due to the fact that Le Pen is the radical alternative to Macron. “I supported Macron during his election because he seemed like a moderate, but this is definitely an extreme climate policy,” said Preston Ruescher, a 12th grader at Lafayette High School.

Reporter Matt Zayas and George Haramis discuss the current state of French politics and civil unrest.

While these protests may have started as protest against the new taxes on fuel, they have morphed into protests against Macron and the EU as a whole. Due to these circumstances, the political climate in France is largely shifting towards the right. “I don’t see how this could be a surprise to anyone. It happened and Britain, and now it looks like it’ll happen in France; the people don’t like their way of life being negatively impacted by someone they see as an elite,” said George Haramis, a 12th grader at Lafayette High School.

As Macron scrambles to correct his mistake, he is increasingly seen as a clown by the public.

According to the Washington Post, Macron has been scrambling to compromise with the Yellow Jackets, making promises in the middle of the road between them. Unfortunately for the French President, it is all or nothing for the Yellow Jackets. Due to their pain as working class citizens, they refuse to back down until their government accepts that their way of life cannot be interfered with by a tax on diesel. On top of that, it isn’t one group of people protesting, it is French citizens from all walks of life, whether ambulance drivers, business owners, or even students.

Needless to say at this point, Macron has made a big mistake. Not only has his proposal sent France into chaos, but has also radicalized the country. As a result of his actions, the populist giant of the French people, has been awakened, and will likely lead to a more radical leaders in the next election cycle. “If France becomes any more radical, they will likely pull out of the European Union. If that happens, the EU will be in shambles, as they already lost one of their three big countries,” said Ethan Zarkos, a student at Thomas Nelson Community College. These are uncertain times for both France and the EU, so it’ll be interesting to see who gains power and who loses it.



7 Responses to “Protests Over Taxes in France”

  1. Sean Long on December 19th, 2018 9:42 AM

    Great story I support the French people in their protest against fuel taxes hope you follow this story.

  2. Zach Yelich on December 19th, 2018 9:52 AM

    Great hook,, I wasn’t interested in the article until I read your hook. Good job!

  3. Seungheon Yoo on December 19th, 2018 9:52 AM

    Your content is so educational and have opened my mind into what happened in France over Taxes.

  4. Christian Hankins on December 19th, 2018 9:56 AM

    very interesting topic for this story.

  5. Ed Coombs on December 19th, 2018 10:05 AM

    It seems to be a decent solution for reducing the use of fossil fuels, because their availability makes them so accessible. Though regular dependence on fossil fuels makes this a costly tax

  6. anthony on December 19th, 2018 10:20 AM

    This is a wonderful article and very informative on an issue that you don’t hear about that often.

  7. Stephanie Perez on December 19th, 2018 10:21 AM

    Great captions

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Protests Over Taxes in France