French government to review tax on high-earners

Paris riots continue despite fuel tax delay

'We Are In a State of Insurrection': Deep Inequality and Macron's Dedication to Elites Fuel Yellow Vest Uprising in France

The French government will abandon a fuel tax hike, which has sparked widespread protests in France, from next year's budget.

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.

"This violence must end", Philippe said.

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

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.

They were supposed to be approved at a cabinet meeting Wednesday and come into effect on 1 January.

Eric Drouet, another spokesman in the movement, said before the announcement from President Macron, "A tax freeze does not change the living conditions in the immediate future".

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"'We want Trump' being chanted through the streets of Paris", said conservative student activist Charlie Kirk in a tweet relayed by the president to his more than 56 million Twitter followers.

The yellow vest protests were originally spurred by a squeeze on household spending brought about by Macron's taxes on diesel, which he said are necessary to combat climate change and protect the environment.

The demonstrations started on November 17 in Paris.

The "yellow vest" movement, named after the high-visibility jackets worn by supporters, emerged on social media in October after months of swelling anger over rising fuel prices.

Meanwhile, police used water cannons, stun grenades, and hundreds of canisters of tear gas against the demonstrators, as well as arresting about 400 people.

Economists frequently note that fuel taxes or carbon taxes are more elegant solutions than fuel-economy mandates to promote better fuel efficiency and cleaner air.

"If not there will be chaos", said Christophe Chalencon, a 52-year-old blacksmith from southern France.

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But that policy, along with various comments deemed insensitive to ordinary workers, has prompted numerous ex-banker's critics to label him a "president of the rich". The demonstrations took place as France joins other countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland.

The backpedaling by President Emmanuel Macron's government appeared created to calm the nation three days after the worst unrest on the streets of Paris in decades.

The French government caved in after the worst riots in decades and delayed an increase in energy taxes. On Tuesday night, the young leader was booed and jeered as he traveled to a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters last weekend.

Macron has said he will "never accept violence".

Protesters say Mr Macron is out of touch, particularly with non-city dwellers who rely on their cars.

The Arc de Triomphe, which is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and was visited by world leaders last month to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, was sprayed with graffiti and vandalized.

Macron had made cutting wealth taxes a key campaign pledge ahead of his election in May 2017, arguing such levies discourage investment and drive entrepreneurs away.

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