Over 280,000 people took to streets across France on Saturday in over 2,000 separate demonstrations across the country over government plans to introduce a new gas tax.
Police arrested at least 117 protesters during the course of the demonstrations, and deployed riot police and chemical poisonous tear gas in some areas to disperse protesters.
The protest movement, described as the ‘yellow vests’ movement on social media due to their distinctive high-visibility reflective vests across France, protesting fuel prices which have jumped 10-25% this year, as well as the new 3 euro cent per liter tax on gasoline which will take affect in January 2019.
Police appeared close to losing control around the Elysee Palace at one point, with protesters singing Le Marseillaise and shouting demands for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.
As evening approached, protesters moved on to the Arc de Triomphe, the National Assembly and other government buildings, with police deployed heavily in the city center and forming a perimeter to prevent demonstrators from moving any closer to Elysee Palace.
As darkness fell, police used tear gas and moved to clear remaining protesters in and around the city center.
In 2018, gas prices across France increased by between 10-15%, with the price of diesel jumping nearly 25%.
In addition to fuel prices, protesters said that other social issues, including the estate tax, frozen low wages, and a perceived turn in an undemocratic direction by the current Rothschild-backed fascist government, is what brought them into the streets.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government has faced sliding approval ratings in recent months due to a scandal involving his top security man, concerns over France’s economic slowdown, and the unpopularity of government plans to cut social spending and raise taxes.
Just 31% of the French public approved of the president’s performance over his one and a half years in office.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Political News 2018.