Macron efigy
© Reuters / Eric Gaillard
A puppet depicting French President Emmanuel Macron is tossed into the air by members of the "yellow vest" movement during a demonstration in Nice.
President Emmanuel Macron criticized the citizens of France for not making enough effort, as the Yellow Vest protests against his economic policies entered their ninth week. The statement was met with fury.

"Many of our citizens think that it's possible to obtain something without proper effort," he said on Friday. "Sometimes people forget that alongside rights there are also duties," Macron declared. He also repeated this idea in reference to "French youth."

The president's comments did not go over well with some politicians from both the left and right, who reacted with sarcasm and indignation.

"At first I thought it was fake as the president should not pour fuel to the fire but it is so in fact," Olivier Faure, one of the parliamentary leaders of the Socialist Party, tweeted.

Faure's right-wing counterpart from the Gaullist Republican party, Laurent Wauquiez, also accused Macron of stoking tensions at such an inappropriate time.

The chairman of the right-wing 'Patriots', Florian Philippot, came out with a no less fiery rejoinder. "No sense of effort from the nurses who toil, from the unemployed who slave away, from single mothers?" Philippot asked angrily.

The nationalist politician also used Macron's clumsy words as an opportunity to rally the troops for 'Act 9' of the Yellow Vest protests.

The controversy linked to the Yellow Vests movement seems to be growing.

The movement, which took its name from the high-visibility jackets worn by the protesters, emerged in mid-November. Initially, the rallies were motivated by increasing fuel prices, but later, protesters expressed discontent with Macron's economic policies which they say benefit the rich. Thousands have been arrested on the streets of Paris and other French cities, which resemble combat zones each weekend.

The Yellow Vests forced the government to suspend fuel tax hikes. However, the Macron administration has no intention of changing its overall policies. Earlier in January, the president's spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, claimed that the protests are full of agitators who have the aim of "overthrowing the government."

French PM Edouard Philippe said this week that the Yellow Vest demonstrations are caused by people's anger in "response to the global financial crisis" and the authorities failing to hear their concerns.

On January 15, Macron will launch a three-month national debate to address the country's burning issues. According to the French study center ELABE, around 41 percent of the people plan to participate in the debate.

Meanwhile, 'Angry France', a group associated with the Yellow Vests, turned down Macron's invitation to take part in the national debate, branding it a "political trap."