Paris shops, monuments to close as fears of protest violence mount

Paris shops, monuments to close as fears of protest violence mount

Paris shops, monuments to close as fears of protest violence mount

And on a highway near the southern city of Aubagne, protesters took over a toll booth to let vehicles pass for free.

But Macron's office said he told ministers he would stick to his decision to cut a "fortune tax" on high-earners, which the former investment banker abolished a year ago. Some 136,000 people protested in Paris over the weekend.

Police have come under criticism for failing to prevent damage to the Arc de Triomphe and stores along the famed Champs-Elysees in central Paris, as well as for violence against protesters.

The FNSEA farmers union said it would fight to help French farmers earn a better income but would not officially be joining forces with the "yellow vests" - protesters wearing the high-visibility vests that motorists are required to keep in their cars. By dismissing the tax revolt, Macron is continuing the snotty French governing tradition of infuriating the public and creating long-term problems for the powers-that-be.

The concessions made by French president Emmanuel Macron's government in a bid to stop the huge and violent anti-government demonstrations seemed on Wednesday to have failed to convince protesters.

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

Macron, for his part, visited a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters, but he did not speak to reporters.

The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) protests have hit major cities over the past three weekends. "We're in politics so that things work out", he said.

Their demands are diverse and include lower taxes, higher salaries and Macron's resignation.

"It's coming too late".

"For the time being, no, they're having trouble just structuring themselves", a government source said.

As the interior ministry warned of an emboldened extremist fringe, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe promised that this weekend's upcoming riots would be handled with "exceptional means".

"If you want the new jobs, with the high salaries, you gotta compete with the rest of the world for them and wealth tax is one way to be sure you don't get them", said Schoendorf. "It's a change of course".

In a disparaging tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that Macron's decision Tuesday to delay the gas tax hike showed that the French leader doesn't believe in the 2015 Paris global climate accord.

A source close to the president's office said France had thought about postponing the session in light of the protests but chose to press ahead.

French Prime Minister Edouard Phillippe speaks during an emergency debate in France's National Assembly over the fuel protests in Paris Wednesday.

If Macron had bothered to recall past populist eruptions against the burdensome and ravenous state, he might have avoided the street violence of recent weeks, as well as the potentially risky political baggage that seems to inevitably adhere to these uprisings.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted that the delay in price rises was "obviously not up to the expectations of the French people struggling with precariousness", and noted sarcastically that it is "surely a coincidence" that the price hikes will now come into effect a few days after European Union elections.

Some 9 million students, blue-collar workers and civil servants took to the streets. The demonstrators have also shown an ability to adapt, however, as they have moved from a specific anti-tax protest into a wider movement to show discontent with the government.

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