The Yellow Vest movement has become full of agitators who only want to “overthrow the government,” a spokesman for President Emmanuel Macrons government said of the protests that gripped France since November.
Benjamin Griveaux made the comments following the governments first Council of Ministers meeting of 2019 on Friday, as cabinet members returned from their two week Christmas break.
He addressed those “still mobilized among the Yellow Vests,” saying the movement has “become the act of agitators who want insurrection and to overthrow the government.”
Griveaux added that the government was “ready to discuss with sincere people who do not turn the difficulties of fellow countrymen into a political instrument.”
Starting last November, the leaderless Yellow Vest movement started as a series of protests against a proposed hike in fuel prices. The clashes between the police and protesters resulted in thousands arrested and hundreds injured. In early December the fuel tax increase was ditched, but the movement has since broadened its agenda to include opposition to wider policy changes proposed under Macrons reform agenda, which critics say favor the rich while the standards of living for the majority of French citizens continue to decline. Macron promised small salary increases, but insisted the government would not yield to the pressure and continue with its course.
Ahead of a planned eighth national day of protest scheduled for Saturday, January 5, a collective associated with the movement penned an open letter to Macron. Calling Paris the capital of “restriction of individual liberties,” the activists said they would continue to fight inequality and police repression.
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