Macron Halts Fuel Tax Hike In Bid To Curb Riots

Macron Halts Fuel Tax Hike In Bid To Curb Riots

Macron Halts Fuel Tax Hike In Bid To Curb Riots

There is concern about far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups like the Black Bloc, which have piggybacked off the "yellow vest" movement. They put up a sign by the side of the road reading "Macron dictator".

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, one of the highest in Europe - and some now call for the government to resign.

French authorities have warned of another wave of "great violence" and rioting from gilets jaunes protesters this weekend, with 65,000 security personnel to be deployed across the country on Saturday. Shops were looted and cars torched in plush neighborhoods around the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue. So far, four people have died and dozens have been left injured in the protests which opinion polls suggest still attract the support of around two out of three French people.

The budget can be renegotiated through the year, but given the scale of the recent protests, Macron is unlikely to revive the added fuel tax idea anytime soon.

Labour unions are also meeting Thursday to weigh their response to the movement, which has billed itself as a grassroots protest unaligned with any political party or union.

Macron on Wednesday agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike, but protesters' demands have now expanded to other issues.

Fuel taxes had been set to rise on January 1.

"No tax is worth putting the nation's unity in danger", he said.

"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.

"It's coming too late".

The Arc de Triomphe remains closed since last weekend's protest damaged the monument, while two music festivals have also been postponed.

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Marine Le Pen, Macron's right-wing 2017 presidential election rival, urged Macron on Wednesday to meet with the protesters before Saturday.

Unsurprisingly, another arch-Remainer who has revealed herself to be in awe of Macron is Anna Soubry, the Tory former defence minister who says opponents of mass migration are "ignorant" and "racist", and who told an audience of Muslims that the United Kingdom "would be a better country" if "white British people ... learned more from your community". "It's a change of course".

"The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters ... in the world".

"We're the ones who are going to eventually have to pay higher fuel prices", said Ines, one of around 150 high school students demonstrating in the southern Paris suburb of Cachan.

Some "yellow vest" protesters called for calm Thursday after the worst rioting in Paris in decades last weekend.

More than 140 people were arrested when a protest outside a school in Mantes-la-Jolie in Yvelines ended in clashes with police.

President Emmanuel Macron faces a crucial few days as he seeks an end to more than two weeks of protests.

However, his policies have angered many French citizens who say he does not care about most of the people.

Some 9 million students, blue-collar workers and civil servants took to the streets. "They want social justice", Thierry Paul Valette, a Paris protest coordinator, told Al Jazeera. Juppe cancelled the reforms on December 15. The wage plan was scrapped barely a month after it had been passed by parliament.

A crisis unit for police officers confronted with "particularly violent incidents" has been created, according to reports in the French press in order to offer officers legal assistance if necessary.

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