As protests rage, Macron re­mains in­vis­i­ble

Toronto Sun - - NEWS -

PARIS — As anti-gov­ern­ment protests rage through France and Paris locks down, the man whose pres­i­dency has un­leashed the anger is nowhere to be seen.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron has stayed out of the pub­lic eye all week, leav­ing his un­pop­u­lar gov­ern­ment to try to calm the na­tion. In re­sponse, “Macron, re­sign!” has be­come the main slo­gan of the “yel­low vest” demon­stra­tors.

The pro­test­ers’ anger has been di­rected at the French leader, who they feel has been the “pres­i­dent of the rich” and is out-of-touch with or­di­nary peo­ple.

Macron’s pro-busi­ness re­forms have aimed to make the French econ­omy more com­pet­i­tive glob­ally, but French work­ers see the changes as bru­tal and weak­en­ing their rights.

Macron, whose pop­u­lar­ity plum­meted in re­cent months, is also widely seen as ar­ro­gant, which comes out when he tells an un­em­ployed man he can find a job if he “crosses the street,” or ad­vis­ing a re­tiree not to com­plain.

The 40-year-old leader mostly spent the week hold­ing closed-door meet­ings in the El­y­see pres­i­den­tial palace, which many pro­test­ers see as an ivory tower where he’s hid­ing away from the peo­ple.

The pres­i­dent’s of­fice said he wouldn’t speak be­fore Satur­day’s anti-gov­ern­ment protests.

Nor­mally, Macron is a pres­i­dent who likes the lime­light, one who has sought a prom­i­nent place on the world stage since his sur­prise elec­tion last year.

Just a week ago, he was bask­ing in the in­ter­na­tional lime­light at the Group of 20 sum­mit in Ar­gentina.

MACRON

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