French president Emmanuel Macron has claimed that the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement has been largely hijacked by up to 40-50,000 “ultra militants” from the far-right and far-left in France.
Earlier this week President Macron received several journalists at the Elysee Palace and told them his thoughts on the Yellow Vest movement, saying he thought that the movement, which goes into its twelfth weekend of protests this Saturday, had been hijacked by the ultra-left and the far-right, Paris Match reports.
Macron defined the group as a “social and political movement without a fixed claim, without a leader, outside of business and which has undergone several mutations.”
“If being a Yellow Vest means that we are in favour of our work paying more and parliament working better then I am a Yellow Vest,” Macron said, allegedly grinning as he did so.
While he praised some aspects of the movement Macron went on to claim that it had been hijacked by “40- to 50,000 ultra militants who want the destruction of institutions,” adding both the far right and far left have been able to do so due to the “mutation” of the movement on social media platforms.
Marion Maréchal Attended Yellow Vest Paris Protest, Witnessed Far-Left Extremist Infiltration Violence https://t.co/vhqlNur1lo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 28, 2018
Macron also took a swipe at Rassemblement National (RN, or National Rally) leader Marine Le Pen as having a “dismal” record in the European Union.
However, polling has shown the RN ahead of Macron’s Le Republique En Marche! (LREM) ahead of May’s European Parliament elections.
Several weeks ago Macron put forward the idea of a “Grand Debate” to attempt to quell the Yellow Vests’ anger and address their concerns but despite this gambit the movement has seen a surge in popularity in recent weeks.
This Saturday’s protest could be even more intense following a call from one of the leaders of the movement, Éric Drouet, for an “uprising”, after another key figure in the movement had been blinded in one eye by police in the Act XI protests last week.
Doctors Say Number of Serious Injuries Inflicted on Yellow Vests Unprecedented https://t.co/pkM4WI3sNF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 23, 2019