PARIS (Reuters) – The French authorities are concerned that another wave of "big violence" and rebellion will be released in…
PARIS (Reuters) – The French authorities are concerned that another wave of “big violence” and rebellion will be released in Paris this weekend with a hard core of thousands of yellow West Indians, an official of the French Presidency said Thursday.
A French riot police stand next to a burning car that youths and high schools protest against the French government’s reform plan, in Nantes, France, December 6, 201
8. REUTERS / Stephane Mahe
Although this week captured plans for fuel taxes as inspired the nationwide uprising, President Emmanuel Macron has struggled to quarrel anger that led to the worst street unrest in central Paris since 1968.
Rioters burned cars, crushed windows, robbed stores and sprayed and anti-Macron graffiti over some of Paris most prosperous district, even obstructing the Arc de Triomphe. Scores of people were injured and hundreds arrested in violation of the police.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced late Wednesday that he scrapped the fuel tax increases planned in 2019 after announcing a six-month suspension on the day before, in a desperate bid to overcome the worst crisis in Macron’s presidency.
Elysee official said intelligence suggested that some protesters would come to the capital “to vandalize and kill”.
The threat of more violence constitutes a security disaster for the authorities, which distinguishes between peaceful “yellow west” priests and violent groups, anarchists and robbers from the in-depth suburbs that they say infiltrated the movement.
The Yellow West Protesters, named for fluorescent jackets. French motorists are obliged to keep their cars, breaking in November over the press on household budgets caused by fuel taxes. Demonstration grew rapidly to a broad, sometimes violent rebellion against Macron, without formal leaders.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer urged people to stay home during the coming weekend. Security sources said the government was considering using troops currently deployed on anti-terrorism patrols to protect public buildings.
The gross fuel tax was the first major reversal of Macron’s 18-month presidency, pointing to an administration that encrypts to regain the initiative because disenchanted citizens feel adorned on the streets.
The unrest has exposed the profound anger of non-towners that Macron is unaware of the hard-pressed middle class and blower workers. They see the 40-year-old former investment bank closer to the business community.
Problems also break elsewhere for Macron: College students are upset, farmers have long been complaining about retailers squeezing their margins and raging over a delay in the planned increase in the lowest food prices and truckers threatening to end on Sunday.
Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire said he was involved in “fiscal policy” and on Thursday announced that France would unilaterally impose a tax on major internet companies if EU members failed to reach agreement on a group fee.
Although such a step is not directly related to the “yellow west” movement, France has negotiated a EU-wide tax on digital revenue for months – the government will hope it appeals to the protesters’ anti-major business feelings .
Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said abandoning plans for further fuel increases in 2019 would cost treasury 4 billion euros (4.53 billion dollars). Pressed on the deficit targets endangered, he replied: “We will keep our books in order.”
Reporting by Richard Lough; Further Reporting of Myriam Rivet
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.