Macron suspends fuel tax hike in face of ‘worst protests since 1968’

(Climate Change News, 4 Dec 2018) In the face of continuing protests from the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Jackets) movement, French president Emmanuel Macron suspended a fuel tax hike on Tuesday, the French media has reported.

The tax, which was set to raise the price of diesel by 6.5 cents a litre, was originally part of a wider package of financial measures set to come into force on 1 January.

But that has not appeased the movement. One of its spokespeople, Benjamin Cauchy, told AFP: “French people are not after crumbs, they want the whole baguette.”

Instead, Cauchy called for “a new wealth redistribution in France” and the implementation of “regular referenda on society’s greatest issues”. Representatives of the movement also declined to meet the government on Tuesday morning.

Initially inspired by the hike on diesel tax, the Gilets Jaunes have since grown into an all-out national protest against rising living costs and social inequality. Commentators, who are struggling to make sense of it as it moves fast and outstrips traditional political affiliations, have labelled it France’s worst period of unrest since May 1968.

Beginning on the 17 November, 113,000 people demonstrated across France against the hike on fuel in the first week, 53,000 in the second, and 36,000 in the third. On Saturday 1 December, the protests have left three dead, over 260 injured, and led to 400 arrests.

External link

Climate Change News, 4 Dec 2018: Macron suspends fuel tax hike in face of ‘worst protests since 1968’