The ‘gilets jaunes’ struggle to hold power to account, an ever harder task in the west | Will Hutton

It was a week when the ruthless and greedy were exposed. But still more must be done

For eight days, France has been convulsed by targeted blockades of streets and motorways causing huge traffic jams, but not from the usual suspects: lorry drivers, farmers or students.

This is a spontaneous movement of “gilets jaunes” (named after the hi-vis vests they wear) who use social media to co-ordinate themselves as popup protesters of all ages and classes, wanting to stop the impending sharp hike in fuel duties. It is an assertion of power from below, an insistence that the “imperial” President Emmanuel Macron should listen. Macron is on the defensive.

Related: ‘Gilets jaunes’ protest against Macron policies in Paris and across France – in pictures

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