France Suspends Fuel Tax Hike

Saturday's top of the clash match between PSG and Montpellier has been postponed due to protests taking place in Paris

Saturday's top of the clash match between PSG and Montpellier has been postponed due to protests taking place in Paris

The protests began last month with motorists upset over a fuel tax hike and have grown to encompass a range of complaints that Macron's government doesn't care about the problems of ordinary people. The six-month moratorium aims to allow time for dialogue to help end Macron's biggest crisis since taking office previous year.

After three weeks of rising frustration, there was scant indication Philippe's measures would placate the "yellow vests", who themselves are struggling to find a unified position.

"This anger, you would have to be deaf and blind not to see it, nor hear it", Philippe said after more than a fortnight of demonstrations by so-called "yellow vest" protesters.

For the moment, the protests show little sign of abating, even with the government's reversal.

The concession on fuels taxes slated for January is the first time that Macron has had to give ground in the face of public opposition, a blow for a leader who has styled himself as an inflexible and determined economic reformer.

"The French don't want crumbs, they want the whole baguette", Benjamin Cauchy, one of the movement's regional leaders, told AFP, although he acknowledged what he called a "first step" towards a "redistribution of wealth in France".

"It's coming too late". At least, so say government sources.

"Eventually he backed down, which is going to divide the (yellow vest) movement, but it also risks dividing his own political base", said Jerome Sainte-Marie of the PollingVox survey group.

"If your only response, Mr".

While Philippe admitted that the administration was caving to the increasingly violent protests, he also chided the citizenry for not wanting increased taxes, which he warned would limit government services and result in passing debts "on to our children".

The prime minister is expected to announce the move later Tuesday. "What we are asking for is fiscal justice, the fight against social and territorial inequalities, a wage discussion". "It's a change of course".

In the port city of Marseille, students clashed with police outside a high school - one of about 100 high schools around France that were blocked or otherwise disrupted by student protests, according to the Education Ministry.

The prime minister's office confirmed that Philippe would not meet with a delegation of the "yellow vests" for "security reasons", after several said they had received threats by protesters contesting their claim to represent the grassroots movement.

However, the protests, which have spread around the country, have become more broadly about inequality and unpopular austerity measures.

Far-right National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen, who has been cheering on the protests, tweeted that she had asked Philippe during their meeting to "end the strategy of confrontation chosen by Emmanuel Macron for the past three weeks".

Philippe held crisis talks with representatives of major political parties on Monday, and met with Macron, who canceled a two-day trip to Serbia amid the most serious challenge to his presidency since his election in May 2017.

Associated Press writers Samuel Petrequin, Elaine Ganley and Sylvie Corbet contributed.

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