French President Emmanuel Macron criticized the citizens for unwillingness to make an effort as Yellow Vest protests against his economic policies entered their ninth week. The statement was met with fury.
“Many of our citizens think that it’s possible to obtain something without proper effort”, he said on Friday . “Sometimes people forget that alongside rights there are also duties,” Macron declared. He also repeated this idea in respect to “French youth.”
The president’s comments did not go down well with some French politicians from both left- and right, who lambasted him with sarcastic reactions.
“At first I thought it was fake as the president should not pour fuel to the fire but it is so in fact”, Olivier Faure, one of the parliamentary leaders of the Socialist Party tweeted.
Faure’s right-wing counterpart from the Repubicans Gaullist party Laurent Wauquiez also blamed Macron for flaring up tensions in such an inappropriate time.
The chairman of the right-wing “Patriots” Florian Philippot from his side burst out with no less emotional rejoinder. “No sense of effort from the nurses who toil, from the unemployed who slave away, from single mothers?”, Phillipot asked angrily.
The nationalist politician also used Macron’s clumsy words as an opportunity to rally the troops for ‘Act 9’ of the Yellow Vests protests.
The Yellow Vest movement, which got its name after the high-visibility jackets worn by the protesters, emerged in mid-November. Initially the rallies were motivated by increasing fuel prices but later protesters expressed discontent with Macron’s economic policies which they say benefit the rich. Thousands have been arrested on the streets of Paris and other French cities that looked like combat zone each weekend.
Yellow Vests forced the government to suspend fuel tax hikes. However Macron administration has no intention of changing its overall policies. Earlier in January the President’s spokesman Benjamin Griveaux claimed that the protests are full of agitators that aim at “overthrowing the government.” French PM Edouard Philippe admitted this week that the Yellow Vests demos are caused by some people’s anger in “response to the global financial crisis” and the authorities failing to hear their plight.
On January 15, Macron is launching the three-month-long national debate that should address the country’s burning issues. According to the French study center ELABE around 41 % of the French are going to participate in the debate.
Meanwhile “Angry France”, a group associated with Yellow Vests turned down Macron’s invitation to take part in the national debate branding it a “political trap”.
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