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Five things the 'yellow vests' have been blamed for in France

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Five things the 'yellow vests' have been blamed for in France
Photo: AFP
16:50 CEST+02:00
The 'yellow vest' protests have certainly taken their toll on France since they began back in November 2018. And the government has been quick to point the finger at the movement for a variety of the country's problems. Here's a look some of the things the Gilets Jaunes have been blamed for.
The anti-government protests have had a big impact on France, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron's reputation. 
 
And the government and local authorities haven't missed an opportunity to pin a variety of the country's problems on them, in some cases more justifiably than others. 
 
Here's a look at some of the problems that have been blamed on the 'yellow vests'. 
 
Roadworks
 
If you live in Paris or have recently visited, you won't have failed to notice that there are roadworks as far as the eye can see all over the French capital.
 
There are currently 6,079 construction sites in Paris, including for cycles lanes, squares, underground pipes and tramways.  
 
And if anyone is to blame for the level of works going on in Paris, it's the 'yellow vests' - at least that's according to the town hall. 
 
"It is clear that the mobilisation of yellow vests causes delays in construction and overlap of work that was not planned," deputy Paris mayor Emmanuel Grégoire told the French press.
 
Others said it was down to the extra work created by the protests. 
 
Director of Roads and Travel Caroline Grandjean said: "The building sites must present as little danger as possible to the police. So every Friday, we remove the barricades. And on Monday morning, we have to reinstall everything, which slows us down."
 
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Photo: AFP
 
France's declining GDP
 
State auditors have warned that the €10 billion package of measures for low earners announced by French President Emmanuel Macron to try end the "yellow vest" revolt has "weakened" France's finances.
 
"The outlook for the public finances in 2019 is particularly risky," said the Cour des Comptes, France's independent state audit office, calling on Macron's centrist government to take corrective measures.
 
Three weeks after protesters began occupying traffic roundabouts and staging mass rallies over spending power, a beleaguered Macron went on national television in mid-December to announce a package of wage increases and tax cuts for low earners and retirees.
 
The concessions threw the government's deficit reduction drive off course. 
 
The gap between state spending and revenue forecast is once again set to overshoot the EU's limit of three percent of GDP this year, after being on target for the past two years.
 
France's finances hit hard by Macron's €10 billion 'yellow vest' concessions
Photo: AFP
 
Road deaths
 
Certain elements of the Gilets Jaunes rebellion have encouraged the destruction of France's speed cameras, which government statistics claimed could be linked to a increase in the number of road deaths. 
 
Since supporters of the anti-government movement started destroying speed cameras, more than 100 extra people have died on French roads compared to last year.
 
The National Observatory on Road Safety says that most of the extra deaths can be attributed directly to the absence of speed traps.
 
“There has been a slackening of discipline on all types of roads,” the observatory said.
 
The government's road safety tsar, Emmanel Barbe, reports  a “truly stupefying” correlation between the destruction of radar traps and a boom in deaths on rural, two lane-roads since November. In other words, the Gilets Jaunes are killing their own people, not with bullets or bombs but with hammers, crow-bars and yellow paint. 
 
 
READ MORE: 

OPINION: Why the yellow vests are accountable for over 100 deaths in FrancePhoto: AFP

Drop in hotel stays 
 
The Gilets Jaunes have also been blamed for the drop in overnight stays in hotels in France. 
 
The number of overnight stays in hotels in France slumped in the first quarter, especially in Paris, the national statistics office said on Thursday, blaming the nationwide "yellow vest" protest movement for putting off foreign tourists.
 
In the first three months of 2019, the number of overnight stays in tourist accommodations in France fell 2.5 percent from the same period the year earlier, statistics office INSEE said.
   
Visits by foreigners fell the most dramatically, with 4.8 percent fewer overnight stays by non-residents recorded in the period.
   
The Ile-de-France region which encompasses Paris posted the sharpest declines, with the number of overnight stays dropping 4.6 percent.
   
This was "probably due to the movement of the 'yellow vests'," Insee said.
 
The biggest demonstrations have been in Paris but there have also been protests in other big cities.
 
Photo: AFP
   
Usually held on Saturdays, the rallies have often degenerated into fiery clashes between demonstrators and police, with dramatic images beamed around the world.
 
It noted that the overall decline in hotel occupancy in the first quarter "followed more than two years of steady growth" and a 2 percent year-on-year rise in the previous quarter.
   
But the effects of the 'yellow vest' movement on tourism had already been seen in the final months of 2018.
 
Ruining Christmas 
 
One of the first things the ' yellow vests' were blamed for ruining was Christmas. 
 
Shops and hotels counted the costs after some of the more violent anti-government protests engulfed chic Paris shopping districts in the weeks leading up to the festive period. 
 
A police lockdown and vandalism forced many stores to shut.
 
Saturday's protest "has decimated the welcoming image of Paris and France," said Roland Heguy of the CAT tourism federation.
 
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