France bracing for more protests despite retreat on taxes

France bracing for more protests despite retreat on taxes

Concessions made by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government in a bid to stop huge anti-government demonstrations seemed to have failed to convince protesters, with trade unions and farmers threatening to join the fray.

A day after prime minister Edouard Philippe announced a suspension of planned fuel tax hikes that sparked protests, the burgeoning “yellow vest” protest movement 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.

Students protest at Tobiac university in Paris (Christophe Ena/AP)
Students protest at Tobiac university in Paris (Christophe Ena/AP)

Trade unions have not played a role in the co-ordination of the improvised movement so far but are now trying to take advantage of growing anger among the public.

A joint statement from the CGT and FO trucking unions protesting over a cut to overtime rates called for action from Sunday night and asked for an urgent meeting with transport minister Elisabeth Borne.

Although most of the fuel depots blocked by protesters have been cleared, fuel shortages continued to hit several parts of France on Wednesday, with hundreds of petrol stations affected.

Wearing their signature yellow vests, demonstrators were back at toll booths on Wednesday to express their demands, ranging from income and pension rises to the dissolution of the national assembly.

Meanwhile, high school students’ union FIDL called for a “massive and general mobilisation” on Thursday and urged education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer to step down.

Emmanuel Macron (Gustavo Garello/AP)
Emmanuel Macron (Gustavo Garello/AP)

Put on the back foot, Mr Philippe’s government opened the door for more concessions as spokesman Benjamin Griveaux did not exclude bringing back a wealth tax that was slashed soon after Mr Macron came to power in May 2017.

His popularity has slumped to new lows since the first “yellow vest” demonstrations took place on November 17.

The former investment banker, who was elected after campaigning for deep pro-business economic reforms, is accused of being the “president for the rich” and of being estranged from the working classes.

- Press Association

More on this topic

In Pictures: Paris on parade for Bastille Day celebrationsIn Pictures: Paris on parade for Bastille Day celebrations

French politicians approve 3% tax on online giants such as Google and AmazonFrench politicians approve 3% tax on online giants such as Google and Amazon

France put on hot weather alert as heatwave reaches EuropeFrance put on hot weather alert as heatwave reaches Europe

Brigitte Macron says she has no taste for politicsBrigitte Macron says she has no taste for politics

More in this Section

Iranian authorities ‘seize British tanker in Persian Gulf’Iranian authorities ‘seize British tanker in Persian Gulf’

‘Fanatical’ neo-Nazi terrorist group member who called for ‘race war’ jailed‘Fanatical’ neo-Nazi terrorist group member who called for ‘race war’ jailed

Trump meets Apollo 11 astronauts on 50th anniversary of moon landingTrump meets Apollo 11 astronauts on 50th anniversary of moon landing

Pro-Brexit group founder wins appeal against €22k EU referendum finePro-Brexit group founder wins appeal against €22k EU referendum fine


Lifestyle

Celebrate the anniversary by finding lift off without even leaving the earth, at these stateside visitor centres and museums, says Sarah Marshall.America’s top space-age attractions to celebrate 50 years since the moon landing

“Does anyone want to be my friend?” roared my five year old as he walked into the playground at our French campsite on holidays.Learner Dad: 'It can be heartbreaking watching your kids try make friends on holiday'

These handy product edits are so useful for travelling, says Katie Wright.Palettes pack a punch: The travel must have

When it comes to men’s skincare, less really is more, writes Rachel Marie Walsh.Get The Look: Less is more when it comes to men's skincare

More From The Irish Examiner