France mulls wealth tax changes as protests intensify
05 December, 2018, 22:37 | Author: Wade Massey
In addition to their dissatisfaction with the government's offer regarding the price hikes, the yellow vest protesters have widened the scope of their demonstrations and demands in recent days. They put up a sign by the side of the road reading "Macron dictator".
The protestsbegan last month with motorists upset over the fuel tax hike, but have grown to encompass a range of complaints, with protesters claiming that Macron's government doesn't care about the problems of ordinary people. In the capital, more than 100 people were injured and more than 400 arrested. Shops were looted and cars torched in plush neighborhoods around the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue.
Since he returned from the G-20 summit in Argentina over the weekend, Macron's actions have done little to change that perception. French officials said they are created to move the country away from fossil fuels and part of an effort to fight climate change.
The Elysée also confirmed the announcement to network France 24.
"No tax is worth putting the nation's unity in danger", he said.
The protesters, known as the "gilets jaunes", take their name from the high-visibility yellow vests that drivers are required to keep in their vehicles for safety reasons.
The group needs support from the French people and a peaceful sit-in would have a greater impact on the government than rioting, the protest leader said.
Another self-proclaimed leader, Thierry Paul Valette, told The Associated Press that protesters are unhappy not just about the price of fuel, but about general economic inequality. That, observers say, makes it more hard for government officials to answer. "What we are asking of you, Mr. It's a change of course".
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Trump posted several messages about the demonstrations on his Twitter account, claiming the protests were a direct result of the Paris climate agreement of which France is a signatory, but the United States is not.
"I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protesters in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago", Trump tweeted. "The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters".
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Yet many others said they had no intention of stopping the demonstrations. Philippe said the increase would go into effect six months later.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted that the delay in price rises was "obviously not up to the expectations of the French people struggling with precariousness", and noted sarcastically that it is "surely a coincidence" that the price hikes will now come into effect a few days after European Union elections.
The message was driven home by Édouard Philippe, the prime minister, who told parliament: "What is at stake is the security of the French people and of our institutions".
His attitude - "I stick to my guns" -aggravated the stand-off as Parisians walked and hitchhiked to work, travel plans were wrecked and public anger intensified - peacefully.
The prime minister also spoke of the protesters. Pensioners marched to protest the president's perceived elitism.
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