Earlier this week French
President Macron gave a speech addressing the Yellow Vest movement. The televised speech was watched by millions across the country, garnering more views than the 2018 World Cup
final that France won.
In the speech, Macron announced measures to boost wages including, a government bonus scheme for low-wage earners, an end to taxes on overtime pay, removal of a surcharge on most pensions, and business incentives to give tax-free bonuses to staff. The protests, which began on November 17th as a resistance to a fuel tax, quickly escalated into anti-government demonstrations and critiques of inequality across the country.
The protests on November 17th brought over a quarter of a million people onto the streets, injuring close to 400. As the protests turned out week after week, the number of protestors shrunk, numbering close to 150,000 protestors in the following weeks. While the number of protestors shrunk, the number of people put in custody rose from just 73 on the first day to over 1,000 people on the last day of protests.
The Yellow Vest movement has put the French President in political jeopardy as he is often portrayed as an aloof advocate of the rich and powerful, disconnected from the plight of the everyday Frenchmen. Macron did not help this image, giving his speech from behind a gold desk
in a gold room in the Élysée Palace, the presidential residence.