Macron caves in as yellow vest protesters get taste for blood

Macron caves in as yellow vest protesters get taste for blood

Macron caves in as yellow vest protesters get taste for blood

Mr Philippe said the government would suspend increases on three taxes scheduled for January 1.

In a televised speech, Edouard Philippe said people's anger must be heard, adding that the move is aimed at stopping the violence and restoring public order.

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. "It does not resemble what we want to be". "If I didn't manage to explain it, if the ruling majority didn't manage to convince the French, then something must change", said Philippe.

"No tax should jeopardise the unity of the nation", he continued.

For the last two weeks, protesters have swarmed the streets of France in response to the fuel tax, which has been billed as a way to combat global warming but would impose highly burdensome taxes on fuel that protesters say they simply can not afford.

For weeks Macron held his ground on the fuel taxes, which are meant to finance anti-pollution policies but which critics say unfairly weigh on drivers in rural and small-town France.

"It's a first step, but we will not settle for a crumb", Benjamin Cauchy, a protest leader.

In addition to concerns about its potential impact on French finances, the retreat raises questions about a set of reforms Macron has planned for next year, which involve sure-to-be unpopular changes to unemployment insurance and a unification of France's retirement systems.

Philippe has been under fire from opposition lawmakers after his decision to suspend fuel tax and utility price hikes in an effort to ease tensions in the country.

France's PM has announced a six-month suspension of a fuel tax rise which has led to weeks of violent protests. Ditching them could be a major embarrassment as governments meet in Poland to try to pin down measures to avert the most damaging consequences of global warming.

"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.

"Better late than never".

Even before the French decision, delegates were grappling with a world that has fallen far short of the commitments made in Paris, with no clear road map to targets. "We knew that the situation would deteriorate because we could see the rage, we could see the frustration", Mrs Royal told Radio Classique.

The protest movement has taken the name "Yellow Vest" because of the yellow vests they wear at the demonstrations. The impromptu rebellion began as an uprising against fuel prices but has morphed into a broader outpouring of public anger over living costs.

Last weekend, more than 130 people were injured and 412 arrested in rioting in the French capital.

Le Pen was quick to point out that the six-month postponement of the fuel-tax increases took the decision beyond the European elections.

It was a blow for the former investment banker who has styled himself as a determined economic reformer.

"Yellow vests" are so called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.

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