MACRON SURRENDERS: France Moves to Permanently 'Abandon' Climate Tax After Protests


BEARDSLEY: Macron initially ignored the yellow vest movement.

Philippe said increased planned will be suspended for six month with some of the other measures to be announced, aimed to appease the protest, three weeks after insisting the government would remained constant and determined to their courses and help French consumers wean off from polluting fossils fuels.

Some "yellow vest" protesters, members of France's leading unions and prominent politicians across the political spectrum called for calm Thursday after the worst rioting in Paris in decades last weekend.

The fuel-tax volte-face was the first major U-turn of Macron's 18-month presidency and points to an administration scrambling to regain the initiative as disenchanted citizens feel emboldened on the streets. But instead of appeasing the protesters, it spurred other groups to join in, hoping for concessions of their own.

Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) protesters block the road leading to the Frontignan oil depot in the south of France on December 3, 2018.

A small union representing police administrative personnel called for a strike on Saturday, which could further complicate security measures this weekend.

One of the frequent demands from the protesters, who are mostly from rural or small-town France, is a repeal of Macron's move previous year to cut the ISF "fortune tax" which was previously levied on high-earners.

The unrest over the squeeze on household budgets comes as OECD data showed that France has become the most highly taxed country in the developed world, surpassing even high-tax Denmark.

"The important thing is that it can be applied as of January 1", she said.

The sweep of the protests and their wide support by citizens of all political stripes has shocked the government. On November 17 yellow vest-wearing protesters blocked roads across the country and hampered access to factories and some fuel depots.

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The farmers' grievances include financial charges on their operations, the head of the main agricultural union told AFP.

There is concern about far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups like the Black Bloc, which have piggybacked off the "yellow vest" movement. Two music festivals have also been postponed.

Paris police have also urged shops in the Champs-Elysees area to close on Saturday as a precaution.

Demonstrators were also blocking toll booths, letting drivers pass without paying, to press demands that ranged from income and pension rises to the dissolution of the National Assembly, France's parliament.

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

Fearing increasing violence, hundreds of businesses planned to close Saturday, preferring to lose a key holiday shopping day rather than have stores smashed and looted, like they were a week ago when protests over rising taxes turned into a riot.

One student was injured during protests at a high school in Saint-Jean-de-Braye in north-central France.

Adding fuel to the fire is the perceived extravagance of Macron and his wife Brigitte, with many protesters citing a set of porcelain tableware he ordered - reportedly worth half a million euros - days after complaining about the "crazy amounts of dough" spent on social security.

"If not there will be chaos", said Christophe Chalencon. What initially started as a campaign against Macron's tax hike grew into a broader opposition movement to his government, which was elected in May 2017. Macron's failures as the French president are representative of the overall failure of neoliberalism to fix the address the structural problems of capitalism, much like the failure of the fuel tax to adequately address climate change.