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France

Macron under pressure from former PM to address Yellow Vest protests

media Bordeaux's Mayor Alain Juppe arrives for a two days private meeting called 'Vendanges de Bordeaux' (Bordeaux' harvest) with right wing political personnalities, on September 8, 2018 in Bordeaux. Nicolas TUCAT / AFP

Former prime minister and mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé, has called on President Macron to address the French public ‘quickly’ to end the Yellow Vest protests. He also denounced the violence in Bordeaux on Saturday evening in which 26 people were injured.

Demonstrations over pension reform brought down the Juppé government in 1995. Now mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppé knows a thing or two about the power of the street.

Asked how the protests could be brought to an end Juppé said the President had to speak and soon.

“He must speak with authority but also understanding and empathy because a lot of the demands of ‘responsible’ yellow vests deserve consideration.”

He also invited Macron to “use language all French people can understand,” a veiled reference to accusations the President is out of touch with ordinary French citizens..

While Saturday’s protests in Paris were largely brought under control by the evening, Bordeaux was among several cities where violence continued late into the night. 70 people were detained and 26 injured in clashes in the centre of town .between organized vandals and the police, according to the city Prefecture.  

“The chaos has to stop,” said Juppé, adding that ‘responsible’ Yellow Vests must end their calls to protest.

French President Emmanuel Macron (2ndL) flanked by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner (2ndR), Paris police prefect Michel Delpuech (R) and French Junior Minister attached to the Interior Ministry Laurent Nunez (L) walks Paris on December 2. Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Juppé, a mayor with the Les Republicains party, is an ally of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. He praised the government's decision to cancel the planned hike on fuel tax which sparked the Yellow Vest protests a month ago.

But he said the government had to address some of the Yellow Vests' legitimate concerns by announcing strong measures.

“The question of purchasing power, for those on modest incomes, must be dealt with: workers on the minimum wage, retirees with low pensions. The virtual freezing of pensions [...] all of this has certainly overloaded the boat.”

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