Rioting protesters win delay of new French carbon tax

Demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris

THIBAULT CAMUS APDemonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris

They have grown to reflect more widespread anger at the government.

Just a day after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the rises would be suspended for six months from their original introduction date in January, the environment minister confirmed that they had been cancelled completely.

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

"No tax is worth putting the nation's unity in danger", he said.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said that among the protesters were people from across the country who had descended upon Paris with the express intent of causing trouble.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said extra police would be deployed next Saturday on top of the 65,000 out in force last weekend, urging "reasonable" members of the movement to stay at home.

The government U-turn appeared to appease few of the protesters, who wear the yellow vests that France requires motorists to have in their vehicles in case of roadside emergencies.

The massive protests began in opposition to that tax hike but spread into a more populist movement over the weeks among the working class citizens who would be most affected by the price increase.

The "gilets jaunes" movement began as a protest against a rise in duties on diesel, which is widely used by French motorists and has always been less heavily taxed than other types of fuel.

Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend
THIBAULT CAMUS APProtesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Macron's retreat vindicated his rejection of the 2015 Paris Agreement on combating climate change. In the capital, more than 100 people were injured and more than 400 arrested.

"I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protesters in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago", Trump tweeted.

Since returning from the G-20 summit in Argentina over the weekend, Macron's actions have done little to reassure protesters that he is listening to their concerns. Benjamin Cauchy, a major figure in the movement said, "We will not be put to sleep by a moratorium, the issues are much wider than that", and added, "the French do not want crumbs, they want the breadstick in full".

"The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed..."

The president's approval rating fell to 23 percent in a poll conducted late last week, down six points from the previous month, while the prime minister's rating fell 10 points to 26 percent.

Macron, for his part, visited a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters, but he did not speak to reporters.

"This violence must end", Philippe said.

Immediately after coming to power in 2017, Macron pushed through tax cuts for entrepreneurs and high-earners - an "original sin" for his critics.

The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) protests have hit major cities over the past three weekends.

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