French 'yellow vests' march through Paris, keeping pressure on Macron

PARIS (REUTERS) – “Yellow vest” protesters marched through Paris and other French cities on Saturday (Jan 26) on the 11th weekend of action against the government, suggesting President Emmanuel Macron has yet to defuse public opposition to some of his policies.

The protests – named after the fluorescent jackets French motorists are required to carry in their cars – began in mid-November over plans to raise fuel taxes before developing into a broader revolt against the government that mobilised tens of thousands of demonstrators nationwide each Saturday.

In one of several marches planned in the capital, a few hundred demonstrators headed down the Champs-Elysees, the famous avenue that has been the scene of protests every weekend, en route to the Bastille square on the other side of the city.

As in previous weeks, protesters carried French flags and held signs attacking “King Macron” as out of touch or calling for referendums tabled by ordinary citizens.

In a change of approach, some protesters have also called for an evening gathering, dubbed “Yellow Night”, due to start at 5pm (midnight Singapore time) at Republic square, a common venue for demonstrations in Paris.

As on the last two Saturdays in the capital the demonstrations were mostly peaceful, in contrast to the violence seen in December – the worst trouble of its kind in decades in Paris.

Elsewhere in France, protesters marched through the eastern city of Strasbourg to the European Parliament, while protesters also turned out again in Toulouse in the southwest, where turnout in recent weeks has equalled that in the capital.

To help quell discontent, Macron this month launched a series of public debates that he promised will lead to measures.

In a sign of divisions within the movement, some “yellow vests” have proposed a list of candidates to run in May’s election for the European Parliament, a move attacked as a betrayal by other activists.

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