France boosts security amid fear of new 'yellow vest' protest riots

Jermaine Castillo
December 7, 2018

The protests began on November 17 to oppose rising fuel taxes, but have ballooned into a broad challenge to French President Emmanuel Macron's perceived pro-business agenda and complaints that he is out of touch with the struggles of ordinary people.

A soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Montpellier, scheduled for Saturday in Paris, was postponed after police said they couldn't guarantee security there and at protests simultaneously.

Paris and other parts of the country have been hit by the protests from the "yellow vest" demonstrators, who have turned out in the thousands to protest the fuel tax hike in recent weeks - with protests frequently escalating into violent riots and clashes with police. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.

Macron himself, the central target of the protests, has been largely invisible all week. There is concern about far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups like the Black Bloc, which have piggybacked on the "yellow vest" movement.

Mr Griveaux asked for "18 to 24 months to let the measure take its full effects", saying parliament would review the results in late 2019.

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French authorities warned another wave of "great violence" and rioting could be unleashed in Paris this weekend by a hard core of "yellow vest" protesters, as senior ministers sought to defuse public anger with conciliatory languages on taxes.

Marine Le Pen, Macron's right-wing 2017 presidential election rival, urged Macron on Wednesday to meet with the protesters before Saturday. Officers have also been instructed to directly engage with protesters, prompting fears of violence above and beyond that of last weekend.

Unsurprisingly, another arch-Remainer who has revealed herself to be in awe of Macron is Anna Soubry, the Tory former defence minister who says opponents of mass migration are "ignorant" and "racist", and who told an audience of Muslims that the United Kingdom "would be a better country" if "white British people ... learned more from your community".

The French government proposed to tax carbon, which would have added about 15 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline, or a little less than 3 percent, starting January 1.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Tuesday rollbacks on fuel taxes and electricity price increases in a rare televised address after France was rocked by intense street clashes and vandalism in Paris over the weekend.

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A protester wearing a yellow vest, the symbol of a French drivers" protest against higher diesel prices, poses with a sticker reading "Macron resign' as he and comrades occupy a roundabout in Gaillon, France, Thursday.

Labour unions are also meeting Thursday to weigh their response to the movement, which has billed itself as a grassroots protest unaligned with any political party or union. "If at the end of these discussions no good solutions have been found, we will accept the consequences" Mr Griveaux said. More protests are expected to come on Saturday, reports Fox News. French officials said they are created to move the country away from fossil fuels and part of an effort to fight climate change.

I don't understand why not give the low income people fuel subsidies and go after the real big polluters?? Scores of people were hurt and hundreds arrested in battles with police. The protesters "are defending a cause, they're following through and rightly so". Student protests blocked or otherwise disrupted about 100 high schools around the country blocked or otherwise disrupted by student protests Tuesday, according to the French Education Ministry.

Among them were a minimum pension, widespread changes to the tax system, and a reduction in the retirement age.

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