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where have the yellow vests gone?


Barthélémy Philippe, edited by Loane Nader / Photo credits: THOMAS LO PRESTI / AFP

Launched in the fall of 2018 to protest against fuel prices, the Yellow Vest movement brought together nearly 300,000 people on November 17. Five years later, the purchasing power of the working classes is perhaps suffering even more, faced with record inflation and fuels that are close to 2 euros per liter, enough to revive the ashes of the movement.

Five years ago, the Yellow Vest movement was born in protest against the meteoric rise in fuel prices. If at the end of 2023, prices are almost even higher due to record inflation and falling purchasing power for the working classes, the Yellow Vests have disappeared and are no longer able to come together, despite some initiatives on roundabouts.

And like Jérôme Rodriguez, historical leaders do not believe in a return. “The movement is still there, it is certainly making less noise. Do we have the capacity to re-motivate all the people? If we are given a little more media space, we could perhaps be a little more impactful. But it is complicated to be able to give back today the same voice that we had at the time.”

A mobilization that has a price

The same goes for Priscilla Ludowski, who launched the petition at the origin of the movement. For good reason, what can prevent it from restarting as strongly is repression, particularly judicial and police. And then it is not without consequences to mobilize, it costs financially, it costs psychologically. There is a form of resignation because we tell ourselves that we have tried everything. People’s priority is to go to work to pay their bills and live or survive, depending on their social class.