Macron un­der fire, tourism ac­co­lades, women’s Bal­lon d’or and new film plans.

France - - Contents -

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron an­nounced new mea­sures to quell the vi­o­lent and an­gry protests of the ‘ gilets jaunes’ move­ment, in a tele­vi­sion ad­dress to the na­tion. Protests that be­gan in mid-novem­ber as a small re­volt against the cost of fuel, quickly spi­ralled into a large anti-gov­ern­ment move­ment, with thou­sands tak­ing to the streets across France to fight what they see as so­cial in­equal­ity. In his speech M. Macron said the coun­try was in a “state of eco­nomic and so­cial emer­gency” adding that le­git­i­mate griev­ances had mixed with “un­ac­cept­able, grow­ing vi­o­lence” as he called for calm. He an­nounced a €100 rise in the min­i­mum wage, tax-free over­time, an end of year bonus to pri­vate sec­tor work­ers and greater pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions. How­ever, re­sponse to his speech has been mixed, with some gilets jaunes – named af­ter the re­flec­tive yel­low vests worn by the pro­tes­tors – wel­com­ing the ges­tures but many oth­ers say­ing he hadn’t gone far enough. Many of the pro­tes­tors see ex-banker Macron as the ‘Pres­i­dent of the rich’ who strug­gles to un­der­stand the plight of or­di­nary peo­ple try­ing to make ends meet.

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