UK yellow vest protests: Who are the UK protestors? Why are they protesting?January 12, 2019 1:10 am
On December 9, 2018, several protesters wore yellow vests during the “Brexit Betrayal” march in London led by Tommy Robinson and UKIP leader Gerard Batten. But the first official yellow vest protest occurred on December 14, after being organised on Facebook. The protesters blocked several bridges in London and were mainly made up by a group of far-right Brexiteers, including Tommy Robinson supporters, ex-EDL, Britain First and Pegida UK supporters.
How are the UK protestors inspired by the yellow vests? Why are they protesting?
The British yellow vests are inspired by the “gilets jaunes”(yellow vests) who are protests against the economic policies of French president Emmanuel Macron.
After the first official demonstration in the UK, the yellow vest protests have become an almost daily feature outside Westminster.
In addition, they have protested outside Downing Street as well as Labour’s headquarters.
One of the key targets of the protesters is the Labour party, which James Goddard, potentially the group’s leader, calls “treacherous”.
Mr Goddard filmed himself shouting: “If they want a war we’ll give them a war, let’s give them a f***ing war” in a live stream posted on Facebook.
While French protesters were demonstrating against the economics of Emmanuel Macron’s government, the small British group has used marches to call Theresa May “treasonous” while urging a no-deal Brexit.
Five supporters of the group, including a 13-year-old girl, have so far been arrested by police, during a protest that saw scuffles on Saturday and on Monday.
The yellow west protests in France began on November 17, when nearly 300,000 demonstrators nationwide took to the streets to denounce high living costs and a fuel tax.
Protesters torched cars, smashed up private home and cafes in some of Paris’ most affluent neighbourhoods.
The demonstration came as French president Emmanuel Macron suggested a tax increase on fuel, which by many have been viewed as favouring the wealthy.
Over the past year, Diesel prices have risen by about 23 percent and the French president’s decision to impose a tax increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol from January 1 enraged protesters.
The protesters mainly come from a middle-class background but members and supporters cut across age, job profile and geographical region.
The government has since agreed to scrap the fuel tax increase and has frozen electricity and gas prices for 2019.
However, yellow vest protesters have not slowed down since demonstrations broke out almost two months ago.
On December 29 it was announced the anti-government protests will continue well into 2019.
The angry protests have forced French president Emmanuel Macron to take a U-turn on his fuel tax reforms but his popularity has continued in sharp decline.
Categorised in: France