French President Emmanuel Macron addressed his nation on Monday after four consecutive weekends of intense anti-government demonstrations, vowing to cut taxes and increase the minimum wage by approximately $113. But his promise may not be enough to make the hundreds of thousands of gilets jaunes – or “yellow vest” – protesters leave the streets.

The reportedly leaderless movement began on November 17 as backlash against rising fuel costs, but quickly evolved to become a nationwide outcry against social inequality and President Macron. The president’s critics say he is “out of touch” with French citizens, calling him “arrogant” and pointing to instances in which he appeared to belittle the realities of the working poor.

Although the president acknowledged that his previous statements have “hurt” people and he would “respond to the economic and social urgency with strong measures”, he does not intend to reverse any of his pro-business policies. Still, some observers believe that regardless of the president’s words and actions, the “yellow vest” protests are just the start of what could become a challenge to France’s current social and economic structures.

In this episode, we explore what the “yellow vest” protests mean for both the future of President Emmanuel Macron’s government and France’s democratic institutions. Join the conversation.

On today's episode, we speak with: 

Julian Bresson @biggy39200
Yellow Vest

Cole Strangler @ColeStangler
French Political Analyst & Journalist

Vanessa A. Bee @dolladollabille
French Citizen & Journalist

Erin Zaleski @RinZaleski 
Paris Correspondent, The Daily Beast

Read more:
French president addresses the nation on 'yellow vest' crisis - Al Jazeera
The gilets jaunes have cowed Macron. But for them, that’s just the start - The Guardian
France’s protests mark a broader crisis for Western democracy - Washington Post