Yellow Vest protesters still taking to the streets after rocking France late last year want to topple the government, said a French government spokesman on Friday.
“Those who continue to protest are agitators who want an uprising and to overthrow the government,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said after the first Cabinet meeting of the year.
He called on the French people to express their views during national debates organized in the coming weeks in all regions, rather than by taking to the streets. “Our government quickly responded to their demands,” Griveaux added.
The Yellow Vest protests, which started as a reaction to fuel tax hikes and evolved into a protest against French President Emmanuel Macron, have continued despite the government’s call for them to halt.
Since Nov. 17, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests — dubbed the Yellow Vests — have gathered in major French cities, including the capital Paris, to protest Macron’s controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation.
Demonstrators held protests blocking roads and traffic, and also blocked the entrance and exits to many gas stations and factories across the country. The protestors, who generally live in rural areas due to high rents in the cities, have called on Macron to cut fuel taxes and ease their economic difficulties.
Under pressure from the protests, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and also scuttled controversial fuel tax hikes.
At least 10 people died, over 4,000 others were detained, and more than a thousand others were wounded in the protests.