No Donald, French 'yellow vest' protesters were not chanting 'we want Trump'

Daniel Fowler
Декабря 6, 2018

The concessions, coming after an earlier 500-million-euro relief package for poorer households, mark the first time 40-year-old Macron has given ground in the face of public opposition.

"No tax is worth putting the nation's unity in danger", Philippe said in a live televised address.

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

The so-called "yellow vest" movement, named for the high-visibility jackets motorists in France must have in their cars, led to violent clashes with police in Paris at the weekend, and on Tuesday prompted the government to change course.

Macron has said he will "never accept violence".

Restoring the wealth tax quickly became one of the protesters' key demands, along with the end of fuel tax increases to finance France's clean-energy drive and a higher minimum wage.

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). It was other players who would try to influence things and if they didn't like how something was being done, they didn't go to the manager, they went to the president.

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.

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

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"I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protesters in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago", Trump tweeted. He said that the French who have worn yellow vests "want taxes to drop, and work to pay".

"What we are asking of you Mr Prime Minister, is not a postponement".

However, reports say he has urged Philippe to ease tensions and meet with protest groups.

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

Many are also anxious after Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume said Wednesday that measures aimed at improving their negotiating power with distributors would be delayed as the government grapples with the "yellow vest" movement.

It is unclear whether the government's latest moves will put an end to the protests.

A day after Edouard Philippe announced a suspension of planned fuel tax hikes that kicked off protests, the "yellow vest" protest movement showed no sign of slowing down on Wednesday.

Although the protests were sparked by the planned rise in fuel taxes next month, the movement has grown to encompass wider anger and frustration against the political elite in Paris in general and Macron and his government in particular.

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