As protests rage, Macron remains invisible
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.