What are the riots in France all about?

The Paris protests affecting the nation continue to grow

On the 17th of November, the ‘gilets jaunes’ (yellow vests) protesters, took to the streets of France. Their choice of clothing: high-visibility yellow jackets required to be carried in each vehicle by French Law. Their aim is to protest against the sharp increase in diesel taxes, which President Macron introduced and has justified as having environmental motivations. Over the past 12 months, diesel prices have shot up by 23%, and tax has been added on fuel in the campaign for cleaner cars and emissions. However, the proposed increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol, which is to begin in the new year, seemed to be the final trigger for the protesters.

The riots have been ongoing for the past weekends, mainly centred in the capital, Paris. Violence has erupted with the police resorting to tear gas to quell the protests. Some members of the government have blamed far-right gangs for the series of riots but among them are many peaceful citizens, who depend on their cars, and as a result, support the movement. On Sunday, President Macron visited areas affected by the riots, ahead of the emergency security he called. There is now huge pressure on the French president to come up with a solution to this crisis before the situation gets out of hand.

Natalia V