Macron Halts Fuel Tax Hike In Bid To Curb Riots

Thursday, 06 Dec, 2018

The French government's six-month moratorium on fuel tax hikes wasn't what the Yellow Vests wanted, the protest's leader has said.

"What we are asking of you Mr Prime Minister, is not a postponement".

"We too want a freeze on the planned closures of coal plants", the CGT union said in a statement.

"There are riots in socialist France because of radical leftist fuel taxes". Philippe said the increase would go into effect six months later.

"This anger, you would have to be deaf and blind not to see it, nor hear it", Philippe said after more than a fortnight of demonstrations by so-called "yellow vest" protesters.

"The French want the whole baguette, not just the crumbs", he said.

A protester wearing a yellow vest, the symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher diesel fuel prices, holds a flag near burning debris at the approach to the A2 Paris-Brussels Motorway, in Fontaine-Notre-Dame, France, December 4, 2018.

Whether or not the cancellation of the fuel tax will end the protests is unclear as members of the movement have already called for a "fourth act" to take place on Saturday.

"I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago", Trump tweeted late on Tuesday, as United Nations climate talks take place in Poland.

Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend
THIBAULT CAMUS APProtesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend

Meanwhile, police used water cannons, stun grenades, and hundreds of canisters of tear gas against the demonstrators, as well as arresting about 400 people.

When he was elected previous year, his economic reform was meant to improve the lives of French people through lower unemployment and a kick-started economy. There are more and more people out there who can't make ends meet each month, more and more people are sleeping rough and yet we continue to raise taxes. He has promised to reform France's economy and increase economic growth. The pattern is worse for retired people - nearly all of whom will be worse off.

Media captionFrance fuel protests: Who are the people in the yellow vests?

She said each of the disparate protesting groups will decide what to do next, but many will probably keep demonstrating. On Tuesday night, the young leader was booed and jeered as he traveled to a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters last weekend.

He said the wealth tax could be reassessed in 2019.

One unifying complaint among the leaderless protesters, who come from across the political and social spectrum, has been the anger at Macron and the perceived elitism of France's aloof ruling class.

"The protesters seem wholly uninterested in party politics", Poirier wrote in the New York Times last week. That, observers say, makes it more hard for government officials to answer.

On Saturday demonstrations turned violent as monuments in Paris were vandalised and police cars set on fire. George Grow was the editor.