Scholar on Yellow Vests Movement: 'Their Message Is Very Powerful'

© Sputnik / Julien Mattia  / Go to the mediabank'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris - Sputnik International
The French people may be renowned for exercising their democratic right to protest, but the Yellow Vest movement has surpassed all expectations. Sputnik spoke to Dr Binoy Kampmark, Senior Lecturer at RMIT University, for his take on what we can expect in future from the Yellow Vests.

Sputnik: Do you think this anti-semitic episode will have tainted the Yellow Vest movement?

Yellow vest protestors march past Le Musee D'Orsay in Paris on January 5, 2019, during a rally by yellow vest Gilets Jaunes anti-government protestors. - Sputnik International
Number of Yellow Vest Protesters Detained in Paris Exceeded 50 - Reports
Dr Binoy Kampmark: Well on a certain level this is always problematic for any movement of protests because when we're speaking about the Gilets Jaunes protests broadly speaking we're talking about particular protests regarding living standards, fuel prices and inequality. There will always be in any movement a particular grouping that will always see causes, reasons and grievances that perhaps will not fit with the rest.

So, in this case, Alain Finkielkraut was a classic victim of a particular group of protests associated albeit within the Gilets Jaunes grouping but not necessarily empathetic with the broader group. One of the problems of this, of course, is, given how the group has no organizational structure in the classic sense, deals with these sorts of cases. So the message is there that unfortunately when it comes to this they have to accept there will always been certain protests that will be splintered off as it were.

READ MORE: Yellow Vest Head Allegedly FILMED Saying 'Paramilitaries' Ready to Topple Gov't

Sputnik: Will the Yellow Vests be able to maintain their momentum moving forward?

A demonstrator gets hit by a water cannon during a protest of the yellow jackets in Brussels, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 - Sputnik International
'Yellow Vest' Protests Held in Brussels
Dr Binoy Kampmark: Well, we certainly could see them of value, but the question is whether they will be of value in France, as opposed to the rest of Europe and beyond. The issue is that their message is very powerful. It is a spontaneous group of individuals that then become a broader movement in terms of protests about living conditions, disparity in living and so on, that needs to be discussed.

So obviously other European policymakers, and certainly populists are going to see this as a very attractive option. The question will be how this translates, broadly speaking, within the country of origin. Obviously, Emmanuel Macron has made various ventures and overtures reluctantly, he has tried to curb back, for example, fuel prices and adjust some of the ecological taxes that would have raised the prices and of course, people have protested about this. But their message remains very strong and this is something that's going to be, as it were, fit into protests in other countries, as evidenced in what you said yourself, it's going to spread to other European countries as well.

The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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