ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

French government to drop fuel tax rise that sparked "Yellow Vest" protests

06 December 2018, 01:28 | Kelvin Horton

'We Are In a State of Insurrection': Deep Inequality and Macron's Dedication to Elites Fuel Yellow Vest Uprising in France

Paris riots continue despite fuel tax delay

The French government has backed down on planned fuel tax hikes in a bid to draw the heat out of fierce protests that have escalated into the deepest crisis of Emmanuel Macron's presidency.

On Tuesday, his centrist government caved in and surrendered to the rioters, announcing a six-month suspension of the fuel tax increase - but not a scuttling of it - in response to the violent protests, which are now in their third week.

The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) protests have hit major cities over the past three weekends.

In the discussion for the event, Acte 4 - Vous avez carte blanche à Paris (Act 4: You have free reign in Paris), over 1,000 people have confirmed they will be attending and 6,000 have said they are interested, suggesting that protesters are gearing up for more violent conflict with the authorities this weekend.

French protesters are welcoming President Emmanuel Macron's decision to scrap a fuel tax rise planned for next year - but say it may not be enough to contain public anger.

Fuel taxes had been set to rise on January 1.

Mouraud told protesters to seize on Macron's weakness and demand other perks, such as a minimum wage hike. French officials said they are created to move the country away from fossil fuels and part of an effort to fight climate change.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said that among the protesters were people from across the country who had descended upon Paris with the express intent of causing trouble.

The farmers' grievances include financial charges on their operations, the head of the main agricultural union said.

The prime minister also spoke of the protesters.

Leftwing critics and labour unions have said the tax cut for the rich was particularly galling since Mr Macron's government has raised taxes or cut benefits for pensioners and others at the lower end of the social ladder.

The protests began November 17 with motorists upset over the fuel tax increase, but have grown to encompass a range of complaints - the stagnant economy, social injustice and France' tax system. Macron's move was "on the right path but, in my opinion, it will not fundamentally change the movement", she said.

"Eventually he backed down, which is going to divide the (yellow vest) movement, but it also risks dividing his own political base", said Jerome Sainte-Marie of the PollingVox survey group.

He has seen a slump in popularity ratings since he was elected n 2017. The former investment banker, who has pushed pro-business economic reforms to make France more competitive globally, is accused of being the "president of the rich" and of being estranged from the working classes.

Students opposed to a university application system remained mobilised, trucking unions called for a rolling strike, and France's largest farm union threatened to launch protests next week.

Demonstrators were back in the streets Tuesday wearing their signature yellow vests.

In the port city of Marseille, students clashed with police outside a high school - one of about 100 high schools around France that were blocked or otherwise disrupted by student protests, according to the Education Ministry.

Macron, for his part, visited a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters, but he did not speak to reporters.

Christophe Chalencon said that "if not there will be chaos", with risks of more deaths.

The Trump tweet came as thousands of climate experts were meeting in Poland to work out national responsibilities in the fight to reduce emissions and slow global warming.

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