Far from dying down after the holidays, France’s yellow vest movement is continuing to blaze throughout the country. Every Saturday for eleven weeks, protesters have been disrupting or blocking roads, traffic circles and freeway toll plazas, gathering in the squares of villages, taking to the streets of towns, marching in massive numbers through city boulevards, and confronting violent police repression. Ten people have died in the protests, mainly due to accidents at road blocks, and over 2000 have been injured by the police, around 100 seriously. 17 people have lost an eye due to rubber bullets, according to an independent association and an investigative journalist, while the interior minister recently said there were 4. Thousands have been arrested.
Old and young, workers, retirees, artisans, some small business owners, farmers, students, self-employed and unemployed people are converging to protest not only Macron’s gloves-off reforms in favor of capital, finance and the ultra rich, but especially their own decline in living standards. Increasingly aggressive capitalism, the dismantling of the welfare state, and deindustrialization have eroded standards of living for forty years, and have stepped up pace with the crisis of 2008 and Macron’s “neoliberal” reforms dictated by the European Union.
Yellow vested demonstrators are fed up with running out of money before the end of the month, job insecurity, rising taxes on the working class, insufficient…