Macron U-turn fails to appease protesters
December 5, 2018 -- The French government’s decision to delay energy tax rises following Paris’ worst rioting in decades is being seen as “too little, too late” by many protesters whose anger seems increasingly focused on embattled President Emmanuel Macron.
A day after prime minister Édouard Philippe announced a suspension of planned fuel tax hikes that kicked off protests, the burgeoning “yellow vest” movement – named because protesters wear high-visibility jackets that French law requires all motorists to carry – showed no sign of slowing down. Students opposed to a university application system remained mobilised, trucking unions called for a rolling strike and France’s largest farm union threatened to launch protests next week.
The protests erupted on November 17 with motorists upset over the fuel tax increase, but have grown to encompass a range of complaints – the stagnant economy, social injustice and the French tax system, one of the highest in Europe – and some now call for the government to resign.
Last weekend, more than 130 people were injured and 412 arrested in rioting in the French capital. Shops were looted and cars torched in plush neighborhoods around the famed Champs-Élysées. The Arc de Triomphe was sprayed with graffiti and vandalised.
Four people have been killed since the start of the protests, according to officials.