French National Rally Party leader Marine Le Pen has lashed out at Emmanuel Macron over his unconciliatory attitude toward those protesting his socio-economic agenda, calling him an "imposter" and a "pyromaniac" via her official Twitter account.
Her party, meanwhile, offered a more detailed criticism of the president's speech.
"At a moment when the nation is in need of conciliation, of a sublime and fraternal vision, of a president who is once again presidential, that is to say, an arbitrator, the French listened during this new year's address to the speech of a clan chief, an ideologue of globalisation and an impudent professor of morality," the statement, published on the party's official Facebook page, said.
Macron's jab against the "hateful" protest leaders of the Yellow Vests movement was met with criticism from the protesters themselves. Speaking to Agence France-Presse (AFP), a protester named Mark accused Macron of "rekindling the fire" of protests, and said his speech was a sign "that he would not do anything more to help us." Fabien, another protester, told AFP that "it seems that [Macron] himself still does not understand that he is moving toward dictatorship."
Members of Macron's government and his En Marche! Party defended the address. "During the speech, I saw a president who stands his ground, who believes in our country, for the way it is, with its strengths and weaknesses," En Marche! MP Stanislas Guerini said.
"Instead of resignation, he has chosen hope. With Emmanuel Macron – to work!" Castaner wrote.