The French yellow vests movement is a populist, grassroots political movement for economic justice that began in France in November 2018. After an online petition posted last May had attracted nearly a million signatures, mass demonstrations began on November 17th. The movement is motivated by complaints about the high cost of living and claims a disproportionate burden of the government's tax reforms were falling on the working and middle classes, especially in rural and peri-urban areas. The protesters have called for lower fuel taxes, a reintroduction of the solidarity tax on wealth, a minimum wage increase, the implementation of Citizens' initiative referendums and Emmanuel Macron's resignation as President of France and his government.
The protests have involved demonstrations and the blocking of roads and fuel depots. Some of the protests developed into major riots, described as the most violent since those of May 1968, and the police response, resulting in multiple incidences of loss of life, has been criticized by international media. Since the French yellow vests, or Gilets jaunes movement, has gained international attention, protesters have used the yellow vest symbol in many places around the world. What do they want? What does it mean? And, after almost six months of protest, what is the future of the French yellow vests movement itself?