Gilets jaunes crisis ‘foreseeable’: Brigitte Macron

The gilets jaunes crisis began in November 2018 and quickly spread to become a mass movement

The gilets jaunes crisis was “foreseeable”, Brigitte Macron, wife of President Emmanuel Macron, has said seven months after the start of the movement, admitting that she “was scared for France”.

In an interview with RTL, Mrs Macron said: “They say that the infamous ‘social mobility’ is broken, and I believe them.

“I believe that the crisis was foreseeable, because largely, what were they saying? ‘From the 15th of the month, life is impossible, and we want our children to have access to the best.’”

The gilets jaunes movement began as a protest against rising fuel prices in November 2018. It quickly spread to become a larger movement against issues such as rising prices in general, the perceived lack of buying power and social mobility among much of the country, and against President Macron - who has been criticised as “the president of the rich”.

Brigitte Macron is the wife of President Emmanuel Macron (Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0)

In response, certain measures were introduced, such as a temporary freeze on fuel price rises and other concessions. President Macron launched a series of debates across the country - dubbed the Grand Débat - in a bid to listen to people and propose responses; but critics maintain that he has done very little to change the situation.

France was also condemned and investigated by the United Nations and human rights campaigners for the apparent rise in police violence during the weekly protests, in which hundreds of people were seriously injured, and weapons such as tear gas, water cannon and LBD shots were used.

Mrs Macron said: “I was scared for France. We achieve nothing with violence.”

Yet, Mrs Macron added that the President had not “minimised” the crisis, and had changed as a result of the Grand Débat.

She said: “It is clear that the President is going to act. I do not think that he has minimised the crisis, but there are certain reforms that were planned for later, which he has enacted earlier. He has changed, he is more ready.”

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