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Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frederic Macron, forty-year-old man born in Amiens, France was elected to French office in 2017, after serving as both Minister of the Economy and Minister of Industry and Digital Affairs, is currently facing what could quite possibly be the toughest time of his presidency as his office is threatened with protests that are rapidly spreading across the nation.
Protests began a few days ago, as members of the "yellow vest," a protest group in France, which is widely made up of the working class. Protests erupted after Macron announced his plan to increase fuel prices. Dozens of cars have been burned and destroyed along with shops and property in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Paris. Three people have died, hundreds wounded and in need of treatment, even hundreds more have been arrested many of the men in their thirties and forties.
The fourth day of protests are planned for December 8th, and Benjamin Griveaux, the government's spokesperson has spoken about issuing a possible state of Emergency, which has not been issued since the terrorist attacks in 2015.
Not only are the protests about fuel prices, but it also about the state of living for many French citizens. Many middle and lower class citizens feel as if Macron is indifferent to their struggles. Many families make too much money for welfare benefits yet they still struggle to remain comfortable and make ends meet.
France is facing its largest divide between the government and the people in nearly a decade, many French citizens view the reforms put in place by Macron to be solely benefiting the wealthy while leaving the middle and lower class high and dry and struggling to provide for their families.
The struggle to engage with the variety of protests groups that have blossomed across France, especially with the Yellow Vests or Gilets Jaunes is that there is no defined leader, which puts a strain on negotiations since the French government is unsure who they are supposed to talk too in order to diffuse the tension spreading across France.
So why are tensions so high? Why is Macron raising fuel prices?
Macron decided to raise the prices of fuel in order to help combat pollution, yet, for many people who live in the rural areas of not only Paris but France, they rely on their cars in order to travel to work. Taxes are being raised higher and higher, leaving the middle class with little to no money for everyday necessities.
Many citizens have renamed President Macron, "President of the Rich" due to the fact that he seems to be favoring the wealthy as many French politicians seem to have done in the past, taking the money from the working class and leaving the wealthy untouched.
So what does this mean for the President? Will he be able to navigate the now fragile French government through this turmoil? Or will he face his untimely end after almost a year and a half in office? Only time will tell, whether or not Macron will give in to the protestors and change his policies, or if France will fall into turmoil again after two-hundred and nineteen years after the French Revolution which also occurred due to high taxes and general discontent among the French people as the wealthy lived comfortably. As taxes rise and discontent among the masses continues to threaten the forty-year-old president and his government he may see a swift end to the presidency he worked so hard to obtain.
Until then, only time can tell, as the French government remains unstable, this shall be a true test of President Macrons ability to navigate these troubling waters.
Pouvoir Au Peuple!