Paris went up in flames (again) this past weekend in "Act IV" of the citizen uprising against President Emmanuel Macron's fuel tax increases. Macron raised the tax in hopes of weaning people off of fossil fuels and following through on the Paris Climate Agreement.
But, people aren't quite siding with Macron's environmental agenda, no matter how noble he may think it is, because they know the tax increases will hurt the middle class. The protests have also broadened as a rebuke against Macron's economic policies in general. The "Yellow Vests" are rioting all across Paris, defacing monuments like the Arc de Triomphe and demanding Macron's resignation. This past Saturday, police had to resort to tear gas to try and subdue the riots. Over 130 people were injured and 412 arrested in the confrontations.
Macron, whose approval rating is now in the 20-25 percent range, addressed the nation Monday from Paris, noting that France is going through a "very historic moment." He declared an economic and social state of emergency and promised citizens that he will not forget the anger he witnessed these past few weeks. But, he pleaded with the country to give his government "another chance."
"Maybe I gave the impression that I didn't care," Macron said, before assuring citizens that he "believes in this country that I love. "
The president outlined a few reforms he is hoping to enact, many of which are intended to improve salaries. He announced an end of year bonus for all employees without tax, mandated that companies have to review their bylaws to ensure they're not taking advantage of their employees, and raised the minimum wage of 100 euros per month, starting January 2019.
He also wants to "reinvent and restore the educational system" to help individuals find work after they graduate.
"I want to find a way to get out of this together," Macron said.