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Rising chaos in France as students take protests to the streets

The French Prime Minister yesterday met the opposition party leaders amid nationwide protests. Approximately 100 schools went under blockage as the protests continue to spread across the nation.

Thousands of masked protestors on Saturday engaged in running battles with the police. They burned cars, barricades, and buildings in the most well-off parts of Paris. The protests dubbed the “gilets jaunes” or yellow vests citizens’ protests progressed into the week. Peaceful anti-government protests took place at barricades on roads. Another venue was fuel depots all around France.

High school students protested against the changes to university and college systems. They conquered the mood of the protests and also stepped up their blockades. An average of 100 schools around the country experienced partial or full blockades. They include Créteil and the southern city of Toulouse in the Paris area.

Police arrested seven teenagers after a riot at the Jean-Pierre Timbaud High School in Aubervilliers. A car was overturned and bins set alight. The protests kicked off a month ago due to the escalation of environmental taxes on fuel. The French citizens feel that the tax system is inconsiderate and favors the rich.

The Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, held a meeting today with representatives of the protestors. However, the grassroots movement has no defined structure or leadership system. President Macron faces a significant challenge in settling down the widespread resentment against the government. Macron’s personal desire not to give in to the protests further complicated things.

“Thinking that, as we have always done for thirty years, that you make a little symbolic gesture and then we sweep the dust under the carpet, that doesn’t solve the fundamental, structural problem,” the French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux stated. His remarks implied that the government does not intend to make any major concessions.

The majority of opposition politicians encouraged the government to drop the proposed tax on fuel planned to commence in January. Nonetheless, the Green party claimed that the tax must be fairer. The leader of the righting Les Republicans party, Laurent Wauquiez, said that “Macron should call for a referendum on the carbon tax to let the people’s voice be heard.” He, however, did not give particulars on what form the referendum would take.

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