That’s rich! Millionaire Macron says he’d be a Yellow Vest for a higher salary

That’s rich! Millionaire Macron says he’d be a Yellow Vest for a higher salary
Protesters in France finally have the sympathies of multi-millionaire Emmanuel Macron. The leader nicknamed “President of the Rich” says he could be a Yellow Vest too, if it means getting paid more.

On Thursday, Macron, a man who reportedly earned millions as an investment banker and has recently been making televised statements to the poorest citizens from rooms dripping with gold, tried a different tactic to align himself with the French grassroots movement demanding his resignation.

In an interview with several French media (BFM TV, Paris Match, Le Figaro) he claimed:

If being a yellow vest means wanting fewer parliamentarians and work being paid better, I am a yellow vest, too!

Macron appeared dismissive of the Yellow Vests calling it a political movement without “a fixed claim and leader” which has been “infiltrated by 40,000 to 50,000 militants who want the destruction of institutions.”

In fact much of the anger of the Yellow Vest movement has been aimed at Macron’s perceived protection of the wealthy establishment. Critics point out that more than a third of his cabinet are millionaires, so hearing the wealthy president play politics with the idea of higher salaries is unlikely to placate the protesters who have been turning out in Paris and other cities to demand his resignation.

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The Yellow Vests have been demanding a so called “Citizens’ Initiative Referendum” on whether to introduce regular popular votes which would let the French public vet government policy proposals.

Macron suggested while he was open to the idea of a public vote, he would not accept anything that undermined the decisions of parliament, and bluntly ruled out a referendum on a wealth tax which cut taxes for the richest citizens, an earlier sign of his desire to protect high salaries.

The Yellow Vest movement, named after the high-visibility jackets worn by the demonstrators, ignited in November when the government-proposed tax hikes on fuel which disproportionately affected those on the lowest salaries.

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Thousands of people have been protesting on Saturdays and Sundays in Paris and other French cities, with some rallies descending into violence. Hooligans have frequently been seen destroying property and torching cars; while demonstrators have also blocked roads and clashed with police.

Macron’s interview comes amid a big debate in France about a controversial anti-rioting bill, which aims to crack down on the street violence that has marred the Yellow Vest protests.

The bill primarily targets ‘hooligans’ who damage property. However, some MPs are also pushing for harsher punishments for unauthorized protests and people who cover their faces during demonstrations – a move that has been slammed as a “threat to civil liberties,” even among Macron’s supporters.

“I learned a lot from those 20 months. It scared me,” Macron told French media on Thursday.

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