French president bans fuel tax protest in Paris as strikes expand
24 November 2018
As the government of French President Emanuel Macron moved to ban protests against its fuel tax increase, strikes and demonstrations in support of the protest movement spread across France yesterday.
At present, the Facebook pages associated with the fuel tax protests, referring to themselves as “yellow vests,” have defied the government order and are maintaining calls for protests at Place de la Concorde. Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part at the capital from cities and towns across the country for the second successive Saturday. There are growing rumors that railway workers will allow demonstrators to travel by train to the capital for free. They will be met by thousands of riot officers and police dispatched by the government of President Emmanuel Macron.
In a press statement on the protest, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner indicated that he had “excluded the possibility that it will occur at the Place de la Concordes for obvious reasons of security.” The square is next to the US Embassy and the Elysée Palace, which houses the president. Castaner similarly threatened that “the judicial response will be uncompromising in case of trouble.”
The prefect of Bordeaux, Didier Lallement, has issued an interim order outlawing a protest in the center of the city.
The government’s threats have been largely met with anger and rejection by workers in France, in Belgium—where “yellow vest” protests are also taking place—and internationally. Since the first protest on November 17, it has become clear that the movement against Macron’s fuel tax increase was an initial expression of explosive social…