Unrest has grown over the past month in France as the yellow vest (gilets jaunes) movement took the streets to protest the government’s regressive fuel tax. The government of Emmanuel Macron bowed to pressure from the demands of the people, putting a six-month moratorium on the tax.
The tax wasn’t meant to combat climate change. The Macron government lifted wealth taxes and the money raised on the backs of the working poor was meant to combat government deficits brought about by those tax cuts for the rich. The mass movement is supported by the vast majority of french people, people who for the most part are completely supportive of substantive action against climate change.
Hundreds of thousands donned the yellow safety vests that motorists are required to keep in their cars and took to the streets across France for three consecutive weeks. The protests have arisen organically through social media, and span the ideological spectrum.
Their focus has largely been on the unfairness of Macron’s proposed fuel tax hikes, but the movement grew to express anger of people struggling to make a living.
The yellow vests enjoy a broad base of support with recent polls showing more than 70% of the french public is sympathetic to the cause. The movement has spread to other countries in Europe.
The fight against the tax is not a fight against needing to do something about climate change.