One year ago, 288,000 protesters took to the streets in over 2,000 locations across France. Dressed in their unmistakable hi-vis jackets, the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) blockaded highways and petrol stations, occupied roundabouts and toll booths, and marched through town centres. The protests were initially sparked by a hike in fuel tax but they quickly came to embody a wider resentment towards the status quo. This weekend will be the yellow vests' acte 53 – the 53rd consecutive week of protest to mark the anniversary of the movement.
Just a year-and-a-half after the election of President Macron, which was hailed by liberals across the West as a turning point against the populist wave of 2016, the yellow-vest movement staged what would become the most significant revolt in France since les événements of May 1968. The French working classes, who had for so long been marginalised economically, politically and culturally, were finally making their voices heard.