France Suspends Tax Hikes in Bid to Quell 'Yellow Vest' Protests

France Suspends Tax Hikes in Bid to Quell 'Yellow Vest' Protests

France Suspends Tax Hikes in Bid to Quell 'Yellow Vest' Protests

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Macron have been lambasted for their handling of the crisis.

The "yellow vests" have no links to political parties or trade unions but the CGT, which brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets to protest Macron's reform of the labour code previous year, said it shared their "legitimate anger".

They also set fire to cars and trash cans.

Frederic Lagache of the Alliance police union said that army reinforcements would guard national monuments in Paris and stated: "We are in an insurrectional climate", reported the Sun. "It does not resemble what we want to be".

Numerous provisions, including expanded ID checks and restrictions on public gatherings, were incorporated into a new security law pushed through by President Emmanuel Macron when the emergency measures were lifted a year ago.

The center of Paris is on lockdown as masked rioters and arsonists stole a police assault rifle, clashed with police and set fire to cars and Christmas trees on the Champs-Elysees protesting fuel pricing.

But demonstrations continued around the country Tuesday.

It's unlikely Philippe's announcement will put an end to the road blockades and demonstrations, with more possible protests this weekend in Paris.

On Saturday, more than 130 people were injured and 412 arrested Saturday in the French capital amid one of the nation's worst unrest in recent times.

NPR notes that the protesters' initial demand was to repeal the green tax but now they also want the minimum wage to be raised and they want Macron to resign.

Protesters angry about rising taxes clash with police in Paris, 81 arrested
Riot debris covers Paris streets; 133 injured, 412 arrested

The violence is Macron's biggest challenge so far as president, and even colored his worldwide image as he had to defend his plans for fuel tax rises - the initial impetus for the protest movement - to other leaders at the G-20 summit.

"I will never accept violence", Macron said.

Numerous large protests took place on France's streets - at big intersections, toll plazas, and other high-profile spots - as French drivers vented their fury at the government.

The movement began two weeks ago over high fuel prices but has escalated into a general protest against rising living costs.

"If there is another day of protests, it must be declared in advance and must take place calmly", Philippe said. But it is now suspended, after almost a month of protests that resulted in four deaths.

Since the yellow jacket movement kicked off on November 17, two people have been killed and hundreds injured in clashes or accidents stemming from the protests.

The Yellow Vests mobilized over rising gas prices mainly caused by a new tax on diesel fuel which has jacked up prices 16% in 2018.

Emerging without leaders via social media, the "yellow vests" have tried to become more organised, nominating an eight-person delegation to negotiate with the government.

French television showed police leading a shaken woman away from the protesters, and loud bangs rang out near the famed Champs Elysees Ave where the violence was centered. He has consistently defended the higher gasoline taxes, saying they are needed to wean the country off fossil fuels and have been compensated for by cuts to payroll taxes.

Tuesday's climbdown represents a major departure for a president who had vowed, unlike previous French leaders, not to be forced into changing course by large street movements.

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