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Will Macron stand down and listen to the ‘gilets jaunes’?

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Will Macron stand down and listen to the ‘gilets jaunes’?

Will Macron stand down and listen to the ‘gilets jaunes’?
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An unfriendly crowd welcomed back French President Emmanuel Macron who after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, went on a tour of the Champs Elysees to scope out the damage done by the gilets jaunes protests on Saturday.

What began as a protest against fuel taxes has escalated into discontent about not being able to afford basic needs and a decrease of purchasing power.

Protesters torched cars and vandalised shops and luxury homes in Paris' luxury neighbourhoods, marking the worst riots since the 1968 student protests.

So did the government miscalculate the protests?

According to Pauline Bock, contributor at the New Statesman, he did.

“He thought it was going to wind down and solve itself … (he thought he) doesn’t have to listen to the French people”. she said.

“But It’s not about one tax anymore, it’s about a general debate and general protest against fiscal policy, what Macron has been doing so far, and precarity and how to change disparities between incomes in France,” Bock added.

And until the government doesn’t give a satisfying response, the protests might not die down, believes Bock.

From a crisis management point of view, should Macron back down?

Matthew Hinde, senior vice-president and director of energy at Fleishman-Hillard, told the panel:

"I think there is some thinking within the French government that given the scale of the reform programme he was putting forward, something like this was inevitable."

And if Macron backs down, could a French government ever be able to affect serious reforms, he adds.

But with no real leadership, can the gilets jaunes actually obtain what they want?

That’s a question that remains unanswered.