France suspends fuel tax hike for 6 months to quell protests
December 4, 2018
France has suspended a planned fuel tax hike which has sparked violent protests. In a televised address, the prime minister called for an end to the demonstrations, saying "no tax deserves to risk unity of the nation."
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday that a fuel tax increase planned for January 1 had been suspended for six months. The move to end violent "yellow vest" protests against the measure was announced during a televised address.
Philippe called for an end to the violence, saying "no tax deserves to risk unity of the nation."
"It's a first step, but we will not settle for a crumb," said Benjamin Cauchy, one of the leaders of the protests.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right party National Rally (formerly the National Front), tweeted: "A moratorium on taxes is being considered. But a moratorium is only a postponement."
Republican Senator Bruno Retailleau described the moratorium as a reprieve and "absolutely inadequate." He said the French people called for "a cancellation."
Police 'violence' probe opened
Meanwhile, the Paris Public Prosecutors Office said it has started an investigation into "violence by persons holding public authority" after a video was broadcast on social networks showing a man apparently being beaten up by eight police officers on Saturday.
Running urban battles
Over the weekend, protesters set fire to dozens of cars and several storefronts along the Champs Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe was sprayed with graffiti.
French President Emmanuel Macron had denounced the protests and vowed a tough response.
"I will never accept violence," Macron said from the G20 summit in Argentina. "No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc de Triomphe is defiled."
The protests descended into the worst urban violence France has seen in a decade. Police used water cannon to quash the unrest.