'Who is at fault for Yellow Vest protests raging in France since November? For President Emmanuel Macron it's not actual economic problems or his own decisions, but the right, the left, social media and, of course, “Russes.”
Macron blasted the nation's mainstream media for failing to control the narrative and argued that social networks and “the Russians” are driving all content instead, with traditional outlets falling into line. The president's calculated outburst was published by the weekly Le Point on Friday, just before the Yellow Vests officially marked the 12th consecutive week of staging large-scale protests against the government.
The president dismissed Eric Drouet, the 33-year-old trucker who emerged as a prominent figure in the protests, as “a media product, a product of social networks,” and claimed that the demonstrators are being “advised from outside,” without elaborating. He argued that 90 percent of the chatter online about the Yellow Vests comes from the “[far] rightists, leftists, and the Russians.”
First slackers, now trolls
Yet, 18 months after bending the French party system to his will and his triumphant win against bien-pensant pariah Marine Le Pen, Macron’s excuses for disappointing expectations are running thin.
His first cannonade in what was intended to be a sweeping march of modernity, was a labor reform that he claimed would help small businesses. It was met with protests from unions, public sector workers who said it made firing easier, and those fearing loss of benefits.
In a preview of what has now become the norm, Macron dismissed the opponents of his policies as “slackers.” In spring the following year thousands were back in the streets protesting against an education reform that makes it more difficult for students to attend public universities of their choice, and taxes that favored the rich.'
Read more: Everyone but himself: Macron blames social media & Russia for Yellow Vests
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