The French authorities ordered a major police deployment on the tenth consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vests demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron. Some 80,000 agents have been mobilized throughout the country; some 5,000 in Paris.
Yellow Vests Continue Protests Despite Government Threats
The Parisian monuments and buildings were surrounded by riot police to allegedly prevent seizure by the Yellow Vests. In the French capital, the main concentration of demonstrators is expected to start at the Esplanade des Invalides, near Napoleon's tomb.
The Ministry of the Interior foresees some 84,000 demonstrators protesting throughout the country. This will be the first protest day after President Macron proposed a "Great National Debate," which would facilitate citizen complaints, channeled through dialogue.
Yellow Vests spokesmen have criticized Macron's proposal as a distracting action to reduce the strength of street protests.
According to the French president, however, his debate is aimed at overcoming the social, territorial, economic and democratic "fractures" that is plaguing France. To achieve such a goal, he proposes local meetings in which participants would be allowed 35 "smart" questions.
Among these queries are "How can we make our tax system more fair and efficient?," "What taxes should be reduced first?," "Are there too many administrative levels?" and "How would you like the state to be organized?"
The Yellow Vest's protests were initially triggered, in Nov. 2018, by a fuel tax increase. Although the French head of state backed off on the decision, the demonstrations have generated the largest anti-neoliberal movement that France has experienced in recent decades.
French citizens have largely complained about high taxes, low wages and few well-paid jobs. These demands are accompanied by a rejection of the actions that President Macron's Administration is carrying out, which demonstrators indicate are skewed for the benefit of the richest companies and people in the country.