Paris Prepares for Fresh Protests Despite Macron's Fuel Tax Surrender

Paris Prepares for Fresh Protests Despite Macron's Fuel Tax Surrender

The "yellow vest" movement, which originally erupted over anger at fuel tax increases, has ballooned into a wider protest over rising costs of living and a perceived disregard by Mr Macron for the problems facing rural and small-town France.

Rescinding the fuel tax hike was the main demand of the demonstrators, alongside a higher minimum wage and the return of a wealth tax on high-earners which was abolished previous year.

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, clash with riot police on the Champs-Elysee in Paris, Nov. 24, 2018.

Four people have died in the Yellow Vest protests so far, and an estimated 75,000 people took part in demonstrations that turned violent in Paris this past Saturday.

French President Emmanuel Macron has lost support from the middle-class and blue-collar workers over his policies that favour the wealthy.

Fuel taxes had been set to rise on January 1.

Macron had made cutting wealth taxes a key campaign pledge ahead of his election in May 2017, arguing that such levies discouraged investment and drove entrepreneurs to leave France.

However, the measure is seen as "too little, too late" by many protesters whose anger is increasingly focused on the embattled centrist.

On the other hand, top-down protests organised by trade unions have often fizzled in recent years, like the mass demonstrations in 2016 which failed to kill off labour reforms.

"There are at the same time those who feel sorry for the shop-keepers whose windows get smashed, and those who say, "This is the only way we'll get there", Neveu said.

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This gaping hole in public finances will be funded entirely by corresponding spending cuts so that the French budget deficit does not veer from its planned target of 2.8 per cent in 2019, the source added.

"If your only response, Mr Prime Minister, is the suspension of Macron's fuel taxes, then you still haven't realised the gravity of the situation", Abad said.

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.

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

"France's largest farmers' union said it will launch anti-government protests next week after trucking unions called for a rolling strike", reports the outlet.

The "Yellow Vest" protesters, so named because of the bright vests that French motorists must carry in their vehicles in case of a roadside emergency, have grown quickly from their initial beginnings on social media only weeks ago. In the southern city of Marseille, students clashed with police outside a high school. BFM said he was shot in the head with a rubber bullet. On Tuesday night, he was jeered as he travelled to a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters over the weekend.

"Evidently the revolutionary tradition is still very much alive in France", he said with a smile.

The Trump tweet came as thousands of climate experts were meeting in Poland to work out national responsibilities in the fight to reduce emissions and slow global warming.

U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to mock Macron over the policy shift, which could make it harder for France to meet its Carbon dioxide emissions reduction target, a core element of the Paris climate agreement of 2015.

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