Over 50,000 women gathered in front of the Place de la Bastille and in the Place de la République, in Paris, and others came together in Caen, Montceau-les-Mines, and Toulouse to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron’s austerity measures, including an increase in gas prices that the president eventually backed down after months of previous street demonstrations.
Organizers in Paris told the media: "Through this first women-only protest we wanted to have another channel of communication other than violence. All the media ever reports is the violence, and we are forgetting the root of the problem” which is the fight against austerity, said one protester, Karen, a 42-year-old nurse from Marseille told France 24.
Women in Toulouse marched with a large banner demanding Macron’s resignation. "Macron, If you do not come, we will come for you", read some of the protest banners. “Macron your goose is cooked, the chicks are in the street,” read other signs.
The protests of the yellow jackets began in November 2018 rejecting the fuel price increases that Macron veiled as a move to save the environment. Their demands expanded as protests evolved during which 10 have been killed so far, dozens injured and over 100 arrested.
For a second time Paris police arrested yellow vest organizer Eric Drouet who was released last Thursday pending a trial. He was taken into custody while organizing a vigil for those killed during the two months of French protests.
Some are saying that a principal founder of the yellow vests is a woman, Priscilla Ludosky, 33, a Paris suburb proprietor who back in May began a social media petition addressed to French authorities saying that lower-income citizens and small shop owners suffer the biggest burden from high gas prices.
The government has conceded on certain yellow vest demands such as lowering taxes for pensions, but protesters still say the government needs to increase the minimum wage, pensions, and social security payments and implement other policies to redistribute wealth within the country. France’s and particularly Paris’s high cost of living are frustrating citizens who see Macron as elitist and beholden to big business.
In Paris, women sang France’s national anthem at the Bastille before marching through nearby streets.
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire called for an end to the “yellow vest” demonstrations recently, saying “those who believe in democracy” should now say “that’s enough”, he told local media.