French protests ahead despite Macron concession

French protests ahead despite Macron concession

The French government has backed down on planned fuel tax hikes in a bid to draw the heat out of fierce protests that have escalated into the deepest crisis of Emmanuel Macron's presidency.

Meanwhile, Total TOTF.PA said a rising number of its filling stations were running dry as a result of "yellow vest" road blocks.

December 1 protests turned violent across the whole country and saw over 130 people injured and more than 400 arrested.

Workers who live in rural areas far from city centers were the worst-affected by the fuel taxes, as they rely on their cars far more than city dwellers, bolstering protesters' complaints that Macron represents those wealthy enough to live in Paris and other large cities.

Three weeks of demonstrations left four people dead and were a massive challenge to Macron.

Macron and his government appealed for calm Wednesday, and signalled it was ready to make further concessions to avoid more violence.

The demonstrations, which began on November 17, sparked on Saturday Paris' worst rioting in decades, with protesters clashing with police, setting fire to vehicles and looting shops around the capital's famed Champs Elysees avenue.

During this two years in charge, PSG won one Ligue 1 title, as well as the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue in both seasons.

The protests prevailed on French President Emmanuel Macron, who campaigned on a platform of setting an example for the world in cutting greenhouse gases, to postpone implementation of the carbon tax proposal for six months.

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). He said that the French who have worn yellow vests "want taxes to drop, and work to pay".

France has scrapped plans for all petrol price hikes in 2019 following weeks of violent protests.

But experts say the government may have reacted too late to the street protests, a regular feature of French political life which have repeatedly forced Macron's predecessors into U-turns.

Adding to the image of a country in revolt, the main French farmers' union said Wednesday that its members would hold demonstrations every day next week.

Despite last weekend's violence, attributed by many to vandals intent on rioting, public support for the yellow vests has remained stable, with an opinion poll this week showing 72 percent backed the movement.

At Tolbiac University in downtown Paris, students took over a school building and classes were cancelled.

"This decision should have been taken from the start, as soon as the conflict emerged", said prominent Socialist figure Segolene Royal, a former candidate for president, adding: "The more you let a conflict fester, the more you eventually have to concede". A joint statement from the CGT and the FO trucking unions called for action Sunday night to protest a cut in overtime rates.

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.

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Macron's retreat vindicated his rejection of the 2015 Paris Agreement on combating climate change.

Reprising one of Trump's favorite themes, Kirk tweeted that the media was failing to report the real story.