Majority of French want Gilets Jaunes to end protests as Macron's popularity rises

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Majority of French want Gilets Jaunes to end protests as Macron's popularity rises

A new opinion poll in France has confirmed that the public have turned against the Gilets Jaunes with the majority of the French people now wanting the yellow vest protesters to end their movement.


While the numbers of yellow vest protesters taking to the streets on Saturdays over the last three months have never been that high compared to other major street protests in France - almost 300,000 for the first protest on November 17th - opinion polls have repeatedly shown the public overwhelmingly backed movement.

That was until a new poll on Sunday for France Inter radio and L'Express magazine revealed that 55 percent of French people now want the yellow vests to end their weekly protests.

That compares to a similar poll at the end of November which said that 66 percent of the public were in favour of the yellow vests taking to the streets.

The number of people protesting on the streets each weekend has steadily declined since the turn of the year.

According to authorities some 47,000 people took part in Saturday's Act XV across France, including 5,800 in Paris and 3,000 in Clermont-Ferrand.

While there were numerous arrests and sporadic clashes between police and protesters, the weekend passed off largely without incident.

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That's in stark contrast to previous weekends which have been marked by incidents such as the anti-Semitic abuse directed towards philosopher and political commentator Alain Finkielkraut as well as injuries to protesters at the hands of police.

The drop in popularity of the movement has been linked to the violence and anti-Semitism that has sometimes reared its ugly head during the protests as well as attacks on journalists and police. It also appeared that extremist groups on the right and left who were once in a minority were now much more present in the protests.

While the image of the movement has suffered in recent weeks as the same cannot be said for President Emmanuel Macron.

While his popularity sank to an all-time low at the start of the movement in November it continues to recover according to the latest poll.

Some 32 percent of the French public believe Macron is a "good president of the Republic", which is almost the same level as before the yellow vest movement began. 

Macron has made efforts to regain the initiative in recent weeks and has spent hours in debates with local mayors around the country as part of his national consultation known as the "Grand Debat".

On Saturday he spent 14 hours at the annual farm fair in Paris. It was the first time he has mingled with crowds since the yellow vest crisis began. While there was some shouts of "Macron resign" as he passed through the crowds, his efforts appeared to be greeted favourably by most.



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