France is in the middle of chaos once again, as the wave of ‘yellow vest’ protests continues to reign “a catastrophe” for the nation’s economy, said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
The demonstrations are widely known as the “yellow vest” or “gilets jaunes” movement, because protesters first took to the streets wearing gaudy yellow jackets, worn in every vehicle by French Law.
The movement began against the rise in duties on diesel, a widely consumed commodity by the motorists of France. According to an estimate, the fuel’s price has risen by about 23% over the past 12 months.
The President of France Emmanuel Macron, has defended the decision by calling the implementation of tax increase by 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol from 1st January as an arrangement of funds for renewable energy investments.
The nation has already witnessed four consecutive weekends of demonstrations against fuel tax rise, the high cost of living and other issues. Expressing concern over the ongoing riots in France, Bruno Le Maire said, “It’s a catastrophe for business, it’s a catastrophe for our economy.”
The scenic beauty of France has been reduced to ruins with broken windows, burned cars, and shops looted by more than 10,000 people, who have actively taken part in the demonstrations.
According to Le Parisien newspaper, about 50 vehicles have been burnt and dozens of businesses have been wiped out, with some of them even looted.
An estimate given by the French retail federation to Reuters claims that retailers had lost about €1bn since the riots began on 17 November. The perpetual contumacy is also likely to affect tourism and trade industries – some of the major sources of revenue for France’s economy.
Clearly, the movement’s aim is to highlight the economic frustration, which has multiplied with all of Macron’s decisions in the direction of increasing the duties on fuel.
Macron will address the nation at 20:00 local time on Monday addressing the issue. Till then, the protests are expected to continue causing more trouble in France.