France's Macron scraps fuel tax rise amid fears of more protests, violence

Protesters overturn a vehicle in Marseille southern France during a demonstration of high school students protesting against French government Education reforms. AFP

France's Macron scraps fuel tax rise amid fears of more protests, violence

French protesters welcome Macron's decision to scrap the fuel tax rise planned for next year, but said it may not be enough to contain public anger.

"No tax merits putting the unity of the nation in danger", he said.

The concessions made by France's prime minister in a bid to stop the huge and violent anti-government demonstrations that have been rocking France over the past three weeks, seem to have so far failed to convince protesters, with trade unions and farmers now threatening to join the fray.

Pressure has been mounting on the government after protests degenerated into the worst street clashes in central Paris for decades.

Four people have died since the unrest began and the resulting violence and vandalism have been widely condemned.

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.

Two groups blockading petrol depots in Brittany said they would stand down following the announcement of the measures, which will cost public coffers some two billion euros ($2.3 billion).

The protesters, known as the "gilets jaunes", take their name from the high-visibility yellow vests that drivers are required to keep in their vehicles for safety reasons.

"He won the French title at PSG, but they didn't succeed in the Champions League and some players didn't show respect to him".

Mr Macron's misery was likely compounded by a tweet from US President Donald Trump, who has been vocal critic of the the Paris climate agreement his French counterpart is so committed to.

More protests were expected this weekend in Paris.

"The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed..." "We must maintain the sympathy and support of 85% of the French", he said.

Last weekend, more than 130 people were injured and 412 arrested in rioting in the French capital. She urged protesters to seize on the French government's weakness to push other demands such as a rise in the minimum wage.

One unifying complaint among the leaderless protesters, who come from across the political and social spectrum, has been the anger at Macron and the perceived elitism of France's aloof ruling class.

Polling showed that 70 percent of French residents opposed the measure, even after they elected Macron in a landslide a year ago.

A firefighter walks through extinguished burning material near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees in Paris on November 24 after a rally by yellow vest protestors against rising oil prices and living costs.

The French government's six-month moratorium on fuel tax hikes wasn't what the Yellow Vests wanted, the protest's leader has said.

It quickly grew into wider protests against Macron, whom many accuse of representing a Parisian elite with little understanding of their monthly struggle to make ends meet.

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