France abandons petrol tax rises after deadly protests

07 December, 2018, 15:46 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Paris riots continue despite fuel tax delay

An increase scheduled for January 1, was "scrapped for the year 2019" in its entirety, Environment Minister Francois de Rugy announced on BFM TV, in an about-turn for the government.

"The protesters seem wholly uninterested in party politics", Poirier wrote in the New York Times last week. One French presidential source told news agency AFP that they fear "major violence" could hit the capital this weekend.

French protesters welcome Macron's decision to scrap the fuel tax rise planned for next year, but said it may not be enough to contain public anger.

About 8,000 of these would be deployed in Paris where rioters torched cars and looted shops off the famed Champs Elysees boulevard, and defaced the Arc de Triomphe with graffiti directed at President Emmanuel Macron.

The protest, called the "gilets jaunes", or yellow vests, sprung up after organizers coordinated to wear a uniform fluorescent yellow vest that working class motorists have to carry in their cars by law, the Guardian reported.

As France is bracing for fresh country-wide social action this weekend, the government has planned tough security measures to handle "great violence" on Saturday's demonstrations, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Thursday. "I'm calling this government to resign", Valette said. Two police union officials told The Associated Press they are anxious that radical troublemakers from both the far-right and far-left will hijack the protests to cause even greater damage this Saturday. Today on the show, we look at Macron's economic reforms for France, why they got people so upset, and how the yellow vest movement parallels things going on in the U.S.

His government indicated earlier that it could also amend a wealth tax that Macron shrank past year to cover only real estate assets, earning him criticism as the "president of the rich".

The protests, while sparked by fuel prices, are also about income inequality, populism and anti-elitism, experts say, not just about carbon taxes.

Philippe told lawmakers he would consider new measures to help the lowest-paid workers.

More news: It's my deal, no deal or no Brexit: Theresa May

But the policy, along with comments deemed insensitive to the working class, has prompted numerous ex-banker's critics to label him a "president of the rich".

According to French journalist Agnès C. Poirier, both far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing group France Unbowed, have tried to link themselves to the Yellow Vest movement-but their attempts have been rebuffed.

The anxiety of the French authorities is evident in view of the prospect of another day of violence in the heart of the capital which is still under the shock of last weekend's riots.

"Sarko" left office as France's most unpopular leader ever, only for his successor Francois Hollande to do even worse, famously falling to four percent in one opinion poll.

Demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris.

Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud warned against creating "chaos" which would "do nothing to resolve the problems" of workers.

The threat of more violence poses a security nightmare for the authorities, who make a distinction between peaceful "yellow vest" protesters and violent groups, anarchists and looters from the deprived suburbs who they say have infiltrated the movement.

In the wake of calls for a large mobilisation on Saturday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner urged "responsible" protesters not to descend on Paris.

Farmers will also consider later Wednesday whether to mount a day of demonstrations and possibly road blockades next week, the head of the FNSEA agricultural union said.

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