Where will France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests lead?
PARIS, Dec 8: The French government has pledged a range of measures to end weeks of demonstrations over taxes and declining standards of living. But who exactly makes up the "yellow vest" movement, and will the government be able to quell their anger after a month of increasingly fiery protests?
Who are the protesters?
The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) movement sprang up in late October against increases in fuel taxes announced as part of President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to pay for clean energy initiatives.
While the protests began over fuel taxes, they have snowballed into a wider movement against Macron, largely among people in small-town and rural France.
Many accuse the former investment banker of being an arrogant "president of the rich" who is out of touch with the struggles of ordinary people in the provinces.
Donning the luminous safety vests French drivers are required to carry in their cars, the protesters have blocked motorways and petrol depots since their first Saturday of demonstrations on November 17.
Many have continued to man blockades since then, playing havoc with traffic and causing fuel shortages ahead of the busy holiday season.
Organisers have called protests every Saturday since, which degenerated last weekend into running battles with police in Paris, where more than 200 vehicles were burned and 412 people arrested.
What do they want?
Different protesters have different aims, and there is no widely recognised group of leaders for the grassroots movement which took root on social media. -AFP