Search our shop

France Yellow Vest Movement

The yellow vests movement or yellow jackets movement (French: Mouvement des gilets jaunes, pronounced [muvmɑ̃ de ʒilɛ ʒon]) is a populist,[65] grassroots[66] political movement for economic justice[67] that began in France in October 2018. After an online petition posted in May had attracted nearly a million signatures, mass demonstrations began on 17 November.[68] The movement was initially motivated by rising fuel prices and a high cost of living; it claims that a disproportionate burden of the government's tax reforms were falling on the working and middle classes,[69][70][71] especially in rural and peri-urban areas.[33][72] The protesters have called for lower fuel taxes, a reintroduction of the solidarity tax on wealth, a minimum-wage increase, the implementation of Citizens' initiative referendums,[40] among other things. On 29 November 2018, a list of 42 demands was made public and went viral on social media, becoming de facto a structuring basis for the movement, covering a wide range of eclectic topics, mostly related to democracy, social and fiscal justice.[39][73]

The movement spans the political spectrum. According to one poll, few of those protesting had voted for Macron in the 2017 French presidential election, and many had either not voted, or had voted for far-right or far-left candidates.[74] Rising fuel prices initially sparked the demonstrations. Yellow high-visibility vests, which French law required all drivers to have in their vehicles and to wear during emergencies, were chosen as "a unifying thread and call to arms" because of their convenience, visibility, ubiquity, and association with working-class industries.[75]

The protests have involved demonstrations and the blocking of roads and fuel depots, some of which developed into major riots,[76] described as the most violent since those of May 1968,[77] and the police response, resulting in multiple incidences of loss of limb, has been criticised by international media.[78] The movement has received international attention, and protesters in many places around the world—some with similar grievances, others unrelated—have used the yellow vest as a symbol.[79][80]