As the anti-capitalist protests of the Gilets Jaunes continue for a stunning 29th week, the French government and media propaganda against the group has stepped up its efforts to demoralise the movement.
In a shining example of how the neoliberal establishment and mainstream media work hand-in-hand to quell the dissatisfaction of the masses, the international France 24 claimed that the Gilets Jaunes were “a mobilization in decline” and, taking government figures of 9,500 protestors at face value, stated that “this is the weakest mobilization since the beginning of the movement.
The absurdly low numbers were in sharp contrast to the Gilets Jaunes themselves who claimed that 23,622 marchers on week 29 of the ongoing protests. While the movement might have cause to inflate the numbers just as the government has to lower them, others have stated that 40,000 had marched.
The attempts to lower the number of protestors is designed to not only suggest that the level of dissatisfaction is much smaller than it really is but equally to weaken the resolve of marchers and instil doubt and weakness within the movement.
Opinion polls on the Presidency of Emmanuel Macron show that public displeasure is by no means on the wane across France, with a mere 30% saying that they backed the incumbent in the latest May 27 polling from Odoxa. Such has been the disaster of the Macron Presidency that the far-right National Rally (formerly the National Front) won the EU Elections in the country with 23.34% of the vote.
Over 47,000 Gilets Jaunes demonstrations and rallies have been held across France since November 17, 2018, with movements inspired by the Gilets Jaunes springing up across the world. The movement began as a grassroots protest movement for economic justice, being motivated by the rising costs of fuel, the general living and opposition to tax reform which has hurt both the middle and working class. The movement has called for the resignation of Emmanuel Macron and his government.
While the original French Gilets Jaunes ascribe to no one single political ideology, with anti-capitalists, the far-left, far-right and anarchists all joining average concerned citizens, misunderstanding of the movement has led to far-right incarnations in Great Britain and Canada, while the United States has a socialist yellow vest movement.
France has recently announced that police involved in brutality against the Gilets Jaunes will be prosecuted after a protracted program of violence against the protestors that has involved brutal beatings and assaults on civilians that have led to well over 222 head injuries, 20 cases of lost eyes and five reported losses of an arm. Of the victims, 419 were demonstrators, 57 were journalists, 37 were children, 19 were innocent bystanders and 18 were medical personnel.
The violence has reached such proportions that the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has also called for an “in-depth inquiry” into police brutality in France.