Victory: Macron Permanently Cancels Planned Fuel Tax Hike After Yellow Vest Protests

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Just 24 hours later, amid continued anger on the streets, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told his fellow lawmakers that "the tax is now abandoned" in the 2019 budget and that the government is "ready for dialogue".

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher diesel taxes, face off with French riot police during clashes at the Place de l'Etoile near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, December 1, 2018.

After the worst rioting in Paris in decades last weekend, many shops and restaurants in the center of the capital are expected to shut down Saturday, fearing a repeat of the violence.

The anti-government protests started last month over the fuel tax but have grown to encompass a broad range of grievances and anger at Macron.

Three weeks of demonstrations left four people dead and were a massive challenge to Macron.

Macron's office said he would not speak publicly about the violence "for the time being", though he met briefly with a protester at his office Tuesday.

Police warned of potential violence during demonstrations in Paris on Saturday, with one small security forces union threatening a strike.

Fuel shortages due to blockades remain a problem in areas of Brittany, Normandy, and southeast regions of France.

The price hikes are the result of France's effort to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent in the next 12 years-but the reaction from protesters suggests intense anger across the country as low-income households have bore the burden of the green initiative, adding to the untenable cost of living for many, while the rich have been given generous tax cuts. "If at the end of these discussions no good solutions have been found, we will accept the consequences" Mr Griveaux said.

He said the prime minister's announcement Tuesday of a freeze on tax hikes "had no resonance".

Burned cars litter the streets of Paris following Saturday's unrest
Image Burned cars litter the streets of Paris following Saturday's unrest

On Tuesday, the government agreed to suspend the fuel tax rise for six months. French citizens were already hit with a tax increase in January, and more than 60% of the cost of fuel in France comes from government fees.

Adding to the image of a country in revolt, the main French farmers' union said Wednesday its members would hold demonstrations every day next week.

The so-called "yellow vest" movement was mostly peaceful to begin with. French officials said they are created to move the country away from fossil fuels and part of an effort to fight climate change.

At Tolbiac University in downtown Paris, students took over a school building and classes were cancelled.

The government has to "put humane attitude first, and not the money", one more demonstrator said.

Labour unions are also meeting Thursday to weigh their response to the movement, which has billed itself as a grassroots protest unaligned with any political party or union.

Chalencon, a 52-year-old blacksmith from southern France, told the AP the French public needs Macron to "admit he made a mistake, with simple words. that touch the guts and heart of the French".

Mr Macron's misery was likely compounded by a tweet from US President Donald Trump, who has been vocal critic of the the Paris climate agreement his French counterpart is so committed to.

Seventy-six per cent of those interviewed said they were "dissatisfied" with Mr Macron's actions as president, with half stressing they "totally disapproved" of his actions.

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