When rules and laws are put in place in any country, there are usually good reasons for them. A tax, for example, can help pay for city infrastructures like roads. But not everyone loves new laws, as is the case in France, where a law recently sparked protests that eventually grew to a state of crisis in the country. It all started when French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new tax on fuel—the “green” tax—that was slated to begin on January 1, 2019. The idea was that by taxing fuel, France would take a huge step in reducing its carbon footprint while encouraging people to use sources of energy that were less polluting. Seems like a good idea, right? Well, not everyone welcomed the move, especially those who depend on cars and fuel to get to their everyday jobs. Even though the protest started with just a couple of internet petitions, it quickly grew into a much larger protest, recently turning violent as protesters damaged a French monument to show their unhappiness. The protests are now causing members of the French Parliament to ask for the tax to be suspended as they evaluate other options. President Macron still hasn’t decided whether to lift the tax. He initially remained steadfast in his commitment to making sure France prioritizes the environment, but could the recent spate of protests and wave of unpopularity cause him to change his mind? Psst … Did you know that the protesters in France are called “yellow vests”? Why? When the protests started, those who supported the petition put on their yellow vests, which many French drivers are required to keep on their car dashboard in case of an emergency. As the movement grew, protestors of the tax came to be called “yellow vests”!
December 7, 2018