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  The Complicated Politics of the Gilets Jaunes Movement
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jan 05, 2019 08:57pm
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AuthorElisabeth Zerofsky
News DateWednesday, December 12, 2018 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionFor thirteen minutes on Monday evening, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, addressed the nation in a calm, trance-like state, sitting alone in his office in the Presidential palace, a gold-plated tray poised on one corner of his desk. He was trying, perhaps, to project reassurance after a weekend in which groups of protestors, ten thousand in all, many dressed in neon-yellow safety vests, sauntered down the middle of vacated boulevards in one of the wealthiest square miles of France. Careful study had gone into the speech. Macron had read the demands of the gilets jaunes and put forth targeted responses: an increase in the minimum wage and tax cuts for the poorest pensioners. He expressed an understanding of the country’s “democratic malaise.” Macron had listened to the complaints about his behavior—during the first year of his Presidency, he has made one tone-deaf remark after another, saying, for example, that people could easily find work if they would only bother to cross the street—and offered contrition for his apparent lack of concern. “We are at a historic moment for our country,” he told twenty-one million viewers. “My only concern is you, my only fight is for you.” In response, one of the most-liked postings in a Facebook group called “Je Suis Gilet Jaune!” was a video clip from “Les Visiteurs,” a French comedy about a time-travelling twelfth-century knight. The clip showed the knight sitting down to a sumptuous dinner and tossing a fistful of boiled potatoes to his servant, who grovels next to him.
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