Who are the "yellow vests” who have plunged the Macron presidency into crisis? Hundreds of thousands have been demonstrating against the French government’s economic reforms, demanding lower taxes and higher pensions.
What began as a spontaneous protest against high gasoline prices swiftly evolved into a mass movement that has caused a major crisis in France. The "yellow vests” have become synonymous with the widespread anger at the reform policies of President Emmanuel Macron - and constitute his greatest challenge since he took office. The protesters accuse Macron of being a representative of the rich while ignoring the plight of ordinary citizens. The wave of demonstrations was triggered by Jacline Mouraud and her video tirade on social media. Her subsequent fame has enabled her to continue criticizing politicians on TV talk shows. The "yellow vest” demonstrations have been organized almost exclusively online and without the involvement of opposition parties or unions. The protesters have a range of demands, from lower taxes to high pensions and a greater say in the running of the country. They feel neglected by the Paris elite, who they see as showing no interest in their economic duress and fears of social decline.