Dinner Table Conversation: What Makes A Protest Effective?

April 27, 2019

Here’s an interesting update. Last December, we shared a story about a protest that was happening in France. The protest was against a “green tax” that French President Emmanuel Macron had announced to reduce France’s carbon footprint. Seems like a noble move, but this tax was met with great protest. Why? Because the tax would cause a lot of pain for those who depend on their cars to get to their jobs. Although the idea behind the tax seemed good for the planet, it didn’t sit quite so well with those who couldn’t afford the tax but had to use their cars to get to work. This tax fueled a growing anger among the working class in France. Those protesting wore yellow vests, which drivers are required to have in their cars in case of an emergency. Protests have continued for over twenty-three weeks, but things seemed to have gotten more heated this week after approximately $1 billion was donated to the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral by large businesses. Protesters lit small fires throughout Paris to get the attention of President Macron. Why these little fires? To show that the poor need help too. While some support the Yellow Vest protesters, others are beginning to question their strategy for getting their message across. Protesters have clashed with police and violence has broken out during these protests.

If you were President Macron, how would you respond to the protests?