Calls for new Yellow Vests Revolt regenerate

Calls for new Yellow Vests Revolt regenerate

Agosthino Baretohas stowed away his neon yellow vest and stopped occupying road junctions in protestagainst the burden of high French taxes. But the garage owner still seetheswith anger at the mention of President Emmanuel Macron.

Fed up with ofpunishing living costs and the squeeze on his finances, Bareto a year agojoined strangers on a roundabout near Fontainebleau in a nationwide campaignagainst diesel tax hikes. The protests across France swiftly morphed into abroader revolt against Macron.

The 41-year-oldpresident needed more than six months and 15 billion euros worth of tax cutsand other fiscal incentives to quell the uprising. Yet trade union-led callsfor mass strikes in December against Macron's pension reform plan underline thepresident's precarious footing as discontent simmers.

Bareto, who retiresnext month, said Macron had smothered one fire, but the struggle of France'smiddle class and working poor persisted. He lamented how the "GiletsJaunes", or "Yellow Vests", became riven by competinginterests and said he might resume his protest if the movement found renewedfocus.

"The glowingembers need only a small puff of wind to catch alight once more," Baretosaid at his garage in Fontainebleau, a commuter town 70 km (45 miles) south ofParis.

The "yellowvest" backlash to Macron's reforms to liberalise the French economy was anamorphous movement that spread via social media, unlike previous French popularrevolts that were directed by trade unions or student bodies.

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