French government to review tax on high-earners

French government to review tax on high-earners

French government to review tax on high-earners

French farmers said Wednesday that they will stage a series of protests next week, adding to President Emmanuel Macron's woes as the "yellow vest" anti-tax movement rocks the country.

Macron's office said he would not speak publicly about the violence "for the time being", though he met briefly with a protester at his office Tuesday.

Officials fear they could be joined by hooligans set on rioting and looting, as is widely thought to have been the case last weekend.

"The government is ready for dialogue and is showing it because this tax increase has been dropped from the 2019 budget bill", Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told lawmakers on Wednesday.

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.

Many are also anxious after Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume said Wednesday that measures aimed at improving their negotiating power with distributors would be delayed as the government grapples with the "yellow vest" movement.

Paris police asked dozens of shop and restaurant owners around the Champs Elysees and Bastille areas to close on Saturday and requested local authorities in 15 areas around the capital to remove anything in the streets that could be used as projectiles.

He said the Louvre museum, Orsay museum, the two operas, and the Grand Palais were among the sites that would be closed a week after rioters looted and defaced the Arc de Triomphe.

Paris Saint-Germain's home Ligue 1 football match against Montpellier on Saturday has already been called off, as has an electro music festival in the city centre.

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

In the nearby port city of Marseille, students clashed with police outside a high school.

Despite capitulating this week over the plans for higher fuel taxes that inspired the nationwide revolt, Macron has struggled to quell the anger that led to the worst street unrest in central Paris since 1968.

Protesters wore yellow traffic vests that French drivers are required to carry in their vehicles.

Reports have showed a country in chaos over the past three weeks, with hundreds of people wounded and a number killed in anti-government protests which, despite disruption and violence, enjoy wide support from a large majority of the population.

"We're asking him to meet us to negotiate on spending power, which is what underpins all this anger", Cauchy told AFP.

Philippe held crisis talks with representatives of major political parties on Monday, and met with Macron, who cancelled a two-day trip to Serbia amid the most serious challenge to his presidency since his election in May 2017.

"No tax is worth putting the nation's unity in danger", Philippe said in a live televised address.

One of the main measures implemented by the French government to boost business and investment after Macron's election previous year was to set a flat tax of 30 percent on all capital income and remove the top marginal band of payroll tax.

Restoring the wealth tax has become one of the core demands of the "yellow vests", alongside the fuel tax rollback and an increase in the minimum wage.

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