No, the “Yellow Vests”, it’s not over. This is indeed evidenced by the new judicial information which targets the former prefect Lallement for “arbitrary detention”, informs BFMTV on its site. The former prefect of Paris has indeed been the subject of a complaint filed by Maxime Nicolle, one of the leading figures of the social movement. The facts, in this case, date back to the demonstration of July 14, 2019. The police then carried out, in all and for all, nearly 200 arrests. The “Yellow Vest” says he was the victim of a “targeted arrest”. He evokes a “political arrest”, the primary purpose of which would be to intimidate him as much as to stigmatize him. So many memories of an era which, since the health crisis, may seem particularly distant. However, the context facing the President of the Republic today is not necessarily simpler than it may have been in the past.
Should Emmanuel Macron fear a new social conflict?
“There are several stumbling blocks which could lead, on their scale, to social movements”, considers from the outset political scientist Christophe Bouillaud, who evokes potential social conflicts of various magnitudes. Some, most of them, should not a priori give rise to mobilizations comparable to those of the Yellow Vests. That said, we will potentially have to expect local social movements on sectoral issues. If restrictions are applied on the types of fertilizers that are allowed to be used, for example, farmers are likely to fight back. Restricted traffic zones could also trigger the ire of motorists and lead to demonstrations, for example”, explains the teacher-researcher, specializing in political science.
“Serious shortages, energy or food could push the French and the French to mobilize, but things would really have to be out of the ordinary to get there”, still judges Christophe Bouillaud, for whom this “catastrophe” scenario implies repeated cuts, significant supply difficulties… and is not the most likely. That being said, another sticking point exists. And it has a name: pension reform.
“The pension reform, it goes without saying, is the main sticking point raised at this time by the executive. It is generally rejected by the majority of the French population and the working people are even particularly hostile to it. There is a lot of bitterness towards him on the side of the employees and all this could easily give birth to a social movement”, indeed recalls the researcher, who teaches at the Institute of Political Studies (IEP, Sciences-Po ).
“It’s probably the only subject likely to rally all segments of the working population,” he continues. Does this mean that they will be the new “Yellow Vests” of Emmanuel Macron’s quinquennium number 2? Not necessarily. “It is difficult to say whether there will be Yellow Vests again, but the context does not lean in favor of the emergence of such a movement at present. The methods of repression of the president and his teams would not leave him the possibility of developing as it may have: the fire must be extinguished before it takes hold and that is precisely why the CRS are dispatched to dissipate the gatherings of protesters”, judges the university.
Some tend to argue that the demonstration is not necessarily a solution as effective as the strike, when it comes to establishing a balance of power with the government. However, it seems complicated to arrive, in the current state of things, at this degree of mobilization on the part of the French men and women. The latter, judges the political scientist, are quite resigned. “In the future, it seems to me, we will above all have to expect very strong dissatisfaction on the part of the voters, which will not a priori result in demonstrations, in particular for the reasons mentioned above. Also because ‘on the left as on the far right, the prospect of a victory seems credible enough to turn our backs,’ he analyzes, believing that the years to come could, barring unforeseen events, be made of waiting and privacy.
Which does not mean that the President of the Republic has nothing to fear. On the contrary. “Emmanuel Macron is concerned about leaving a trace in history and being a bulwark for the National Rally. His action, however, could continue to raise the latter and this risks being reflected in the ballot boxes. all the more worrying for him that in the event of the election of the RN, he could be targeted, politically and judicially, by the new leaders”, recalls Christophe Bouillaud.