Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Macron Halts Fuel Tax Hike In Bid To Curb Riots

Macron Halts Fuel Tax Hike In Bid To Curb Riots

In addition to their dissatisfaction with the government's offer regarding the price hikes, the yellow vest protesters have widened the scope of their demonstrations and demands in recent days. They blocked several fuel depots and, on a highway near the southern city of Aubagne, commandeered a toll booth to let motorists pass for free near a sign reading "Macron dictator".

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.

A demonstrator watches a burning auto near the Champs-Elysees avenue during a demonstration Saturday in Paris.

Across France, four people have been killed in accidents linked to the demonstrations and road blockades, and hundreds injured.

Since he returned from the G-20 summit in Argentina over the weekend, Macron's actions have done little to change that perception.

Earlier on Tuesday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on live TV that the planned increases in gasoline and diesel taxes as well as hikes in gas and electricity tariffs will be suspended for six months.

Just three weeks ago, Philippe had insisted the government would be steadfast in the tax plans aimed at weaning French consumers off fossil fuels.

He also visited local government offices in the central town of Puy-en-Velay, which were torched during a protest last weekend - and was booed upon leaving.

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.

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"It's a first step, but we will not settle for a crumb", Benjamin Chaucy, one of the leaders of the protest, told Al Jazeera.

'I would say that 80 per cent of the dressing room were doing whatever they wanted to do and that is not a position any manager wants to be in.

"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. "It's a change of course".

Macron has been a supporter of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

"I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago", Trump tweeted late on Tuesday, as United Nations climate talks take place in Poland.

"The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters ... in the world".

The US president also retweeted conservative pundit Charlie Kirk, who falsely claimed France is a socialist country, the riots in France did not receive any media attention and that protesters shouted "we want Trump".

She said the farmers were not officially joining the "yellow vests", a grassroots uprising which has shunned alignments with political parties or labour unions.

Numerous demonstrations were over a new university application system. Philippe said the increase would go into effect six months later. The National Assembly was dissolved and general elections were called.

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