PARIS, France, April 14 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Thousands of “Yellow Vest” protesters turned out on Saturday, for the 22nd weekend of the action in a row, to denounce unfair fiscal policy, as President Emmanuel Macron is preparing a package of new measures to be unveiled next week, to head off the social movement.
About 31,000 people took part in the demonstrations in Paris and other French cities, the Interior Ministry estimated, up from last week’s 23,000 participants.
In Paris, Saturday’s protests lured 5,000 participants compared with 3,500 last Saturday.
Marches in the capital and other cities were largely peaceful, with violence reported in the south-eastern city of Toulouse, the focus for the 22nd round of protests.
Violent confrontation occurred between police and vandalism, during which two people were injured and 23 arrested.
Tension flared after hundreds hooded demonstrators threw projectiles at anti-riot officers, set rubbish bins on fire. Police fired tear gas and used rubber bullets to push back rioters and restore order.
To defuse anger, Macron launched in Jan a series of public debates that he promised will lead to concrete measures.
“I intend to transform anger to solution,” the 41-year-old head of state said, when he launched the consultations.
“Your proposals will therefore build a new contract for the Nation, structure the action of the government and parliament, but also the positions of France at the European and international level,” he pledged.
Three months on, the president will announce, early next week, a new batch of measures to respond to public anger.
The conclusions that emerged from 10,000 meetings with local mayors, high-school students, workers, intellectuals as well as 1.9 million online contributions and 16,000 in “grievance books” opened up by mayors across French communes, would lead to “strong and concrete decisions,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said, while he presented the consultations’ initial findings on Monday.
“What the French tell us is that, they do not see the results coming, that things do not move fast enough. This is a powerful incentive to redouble efforts,” he added.
According to a recent Elabe online survey, eight out of 10 French citizens believed the consultations would not be transformed into deeds. One-third of them called the country-wide consultations as a failure, while only six percent believed it was a success.– NNN-AGENCIES