Having previously made comments that caused controversy, French President Emmanuel Macron has again created a stir for a statement he made in a private meeting with French media.
The French head of state said that he too was a gilet jaune (yellow vest) "if it meant being in favour of better salaries and having a more effective parliament.”
Macron, who wants to improve his relationship with the press, uttered the words to a handful of journalists from Le Figaro, Paris Match, and BMFTV on Thursday, while addressing the social unrest France has been experiencing for nearly three months.
While he seldom comments on the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) in public, Macron openly criticised it, saying it was “a movement without fixed demands, without leaders, which has undergone several changes.”
“The gilets jaunes represent the part of France that does not make a good living from its work,” he said.
“If being a gilet jaune means being in favour of higher salaries and a more effective parliament, then I am a gilet jaune,” added the president.
Ironically, a few minutes before the president had pledged to “be careful” about the “snarky comments” that he's become known for.
Speaking about how he hopes to solve the social crisis, the president said he remained confident that his Great National Debate initiative would work but reiterated he would not accept any more violence.
The French president is no stranger to controversy and frequently faces accusations of patronising his electorate. Last year he told an unemployed man that he only had to "cross the road" to find work.