Yellow Vest Popularity in France Surges as Protests Find New Momentum


Support for the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) waned somewhat over the Christmas period but has found newfound momentum as a poll shows nearly 70 percent of French people now back it.

The results, released by polling firm Elabe, show a rebound in support for the movement, from 60 percent to 67 percent, following another nation-wide protest over the weekend, compared to 13 percent moderately opposed to the movement and 12 percent overtly hostile to it.

When broken down by political affiliation, the largest backers of the Yellow Vests remain the supporters of the populist parties on both the right and the left.

81 percent of supporters of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally said they were behind the movement and 88 percent of the supporters of the far-left Unsubmissive France party, led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, backed the Yellow Vests. 54 percent of French added that they wanted the weekly protests to continue.

The so-called “Grand Debate” spearheaded by French president Emmanuel Macron has not been nearly as popular with the French public, according to the poll, with only 40 percent saying they will even participate in it, and 40 percent believing the Macron government most likely will not listen to the suggestions.

Seven in ten French people said they do not think the “Grand Debate” will change the style or method of Macron’s governing in any way.

Macron’s “Grand Debate” comes after the Yellow Vests demanded the government approve of the Citizen Initiated Referendum (RIC) proposal that would allow citizens to pass and repeal laws, remove officials from elected office, and even amend the French constitution through popular referendums, which was backed by 80 percent of French people, according to one poll.

Last Saturday’s “Act IX” protest saw around 32,000 participants and 100 arrests. The Yellow Vest movement has seen more arrests than any French social movement in recent history, with over 4,500 arrests since the movement began in November.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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