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Yellow Vest riots: Macron, Philippe to freeze diesel tax, report

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Paris demo arch  V
A
yellow vests (gilets jaunes) protester waves a French flag at the
Arc of Triomphe, Paris, on November 24, 2018.

Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty
Images


  • France’s Prime Minister will freeze a controversial diesel
    tax which sparked deadly riots in Paris, French media say.
  • It’s a victory for the Yellow Vest movement who say the tax,
    which jacked up diesel prices by 16% in 2018, hits the poor
    hardest.
  • Protesters torched 100 cars in Paris on Saturday, defaced the
    Arc de Triomphe, and clashed with police.
  • The protests have left three people dead, in road accidents
    connected to protest activities like blockades.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will reportedly freeze a
controversial tax hike on Tuesday which sparked deadly riots
across Paris, and protests nationwide. 

Philippe will enforce a “moratorium” for several months, French
media outlet
Le Monde
reported, potentially bringing a temporary calm to
violence caused by the Yellow Vest movement across the country’s
capital.

He met legislators at the National Assembly on Monday in Paris to
outline his proposal, with the report saying he will announce the
tax freeze publicly at midday local time.

The concession gives way to the movement, known in French as “Des
Gilets Jaunes,” who orchestrated their third consecutive protest
in Paris on Saturday.


Édouard Philippe Prime Minister of France
French Prime Minister
Edouard Philippe.

Sebastian
Widmann/Getty Images


The group say that the tax is unfair to rural and poor people and
that Macron’s government is abandoning them. 

More than 36,000 people protested on Saturday across France, with
5,000 of those in Paris, where a riot against police ended in 412
arrests, according to authorities.

The cost of the rioting —
the worst in Paris since 1968
— could reportedly be in the
hundreds of millions of euros.


Read more:

Who are the ‘Yellow Vests’ protesting across France and rioting
in Paris, and what do they want from Macron?

On Monday, Philippe scrambled to end the crisis by meeting with
opposition party leaders in Paris,
Reuters reported
.

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, reportedly called a meeting
with Philippe after returning from the G20 summit. Reuters said
he told Philippe to meet with the Yellow Vests on Tuesday to hear
out their demands. 

However, the group cancelled the Tuesday meeting, caused by
hardline protesters within the movement sending death
threats to their own members
for even thinking of
negotiating. 


Paris Riots
Yellow
vests protesters clash with police on December 1,
2018.

REUTERS/Stephane
Mahe


Macron has argued that the fuel tax will combat climate change,
and as recently as Saturday said that he would not deviate from
his policy goals, Reuters said. It is unclear how the decision to
freeze the tax fits that narrative.

Their decision wear wear yellow high-visibility vests is a direct
reference to French traffic laws, which instructs everybody to
carry a yellow vest in their vehicle, and has been in force since
2008.

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