Gilets Jaunes warn of regular Paris protests

Regular Saturday demonstrations could take place on Champs-Elysées, a spokesman for the group has said

28 November 2018
By Connexion journalist

The Gilets Jaunes have warned that Saturday protests on the Champs-Elysées could continue indefinitely, following a meeting with Ecology Minister François de Rugy.

Eric Drouet, one of eight spokespeople nominated by the group, said: "There will be the meeting, as last Saturday, on the Champs-Elysées. The wish of all the Gilets Jaunes is to continue every Saturday like this, on the Champs-Elysées."

Mr Drouet and fellow representative Priscillia Ludosky attended the meeting on Tuesday evening (November 27), at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron. All eight nominated officials of the movement had been invited, but Mr Drouet and Ms Ludosky were the only ones able to attend.

"There is no real desire to improve people's lives," the two said at the end of the two-hour meeting that came after President Macron's hour-long speech intended to diffuse the situation.

"The French were not convinced at all [by President Macron's speech]," Me Drouet said. "We had more wishes than that, we weren't just on the ecological transition, we were on a much bigger debate"

Ms Ludosky added that the group had asked for another meeting with Mr Rugy, but with a "government spokesperson or the Prime Minister" present.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe later said he would be willing to meet the protesters' representatives.

Mr Rugy, meanwhile, told journalists that the government was ready to organise meetings in all departments with members of the Gilets Jaunes.

The grassroots Gilets Jaunes movement began out of frustration over rising fuel prices and the prospect of an increase in taxes on diesel and petrol in January, but has since developed into a wider social protest.

Among the demands put forward by the Gilets Jaunes' representatives in a document at the Tuesday evening's meeting were the lowering of all taxes; the creation of a citizens' assembly to replace the Senate; the reduction of the carbon tax, as well as the consumption tax on energy products (TICPE); the cancellation of a draft law on palm oil biofuel; the ban on glyphosate; and the abandonment of the project to renew the French car fleet with electric vehicles; a cut in employer charges; increase pensions; a reduction in salaries for ministers and those in government posts; and a cut in privileges for former elected officials.

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