France delays fuel tax hikes that prompted protests to 2020

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"The government is ready for dialogue and is showing it because this tax increase has been dropped from the 2019 budget bill", Philippe told the National Assembly Wednesday.

The government is scrambling to stave off another Saturday of burned cars and running street battles with police by "yellow vest" protesters furious over rising costs of living they blame on high taxes.

"No tax is worth putting the nation's unity in danger", Philippe said, just three weeks after insisting that the government wouldn't change course in its determination to wean French consumers off polluting fossil fuels.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the first major U-turn of Macron's presidency when he suspended for six months a rise in fuel taxes scheduled for January 1.

Additionally, more than a dozen museums and other cultural sites in Paris will be closed amid fears of new rioting at protests called by the "yellow vest" movement.

Officials fear more violence this weekend after organisers called for new demonstrations, saying Macron's decision to cancel fuel tax increases and other concessions were not enough.

But Macron's office said he told ministers he would stick to his decision to cut a "fortune tax" on high-earners, which the former investment banker abolished a year ago.

Two groups blockading petrol depots in Brittany said they would stand down following the announcement of the measures, which will cost public coffers some two billion euros ($2.3 billion).

They have grown to reflect more widespread anger at the government.

"If a measure we've taken doesn't work, we're not stupid, you see, we're going to change it", he said. "We want Macron and his entire government to resign". She said Macron's move "is on the right path but in my opinion it will not fundamentally change the movement".

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The protests began as demonstrations against the fuel tax, which started in November but turned violent in Paris last Saturday, with some of the worst rioting in France in decades.

Seven people died and hundreds were severely injured.

With protesters planning to converge in the Elysee Palace in Paris on Saturday, French authorities are preparing to deploy 8,000 additional officers in Paris and 65,000 nationwide.

Farmers, road hauliers and students joined an escalating revolt against President Macron today as he warned that some protesters were seeking to overthrow the French state. The protests have exploded into an impossible-to-ignore statement of outrage over Macron's leadership, which had a 23 percent approval rating according to a poll released Tuesday by Ifop-Fiducial for Paris Match and Sud Radio; working conditions for paramedics; school reforms; and the perception that Macron, a former investment banker, is a president for the country's elite.

Trade unions so far have not played a role in the yellow vest protest movement but are now trying to capitalize on growing public anger.

An official in Macron's office said intelligence suggested that some protesters would come to the capital this Saturday "to vandalize and to kill".

In the wake of calls for a large mobilisation on Saturday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner urged "responsible" protesters not to descend on Paris.

"With the yellow vests as a pretext, we're seeing all sorts of individuals joining with people demonstrating in good faith, including students, and this is leading to serious violence", Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told BFM television.

It quickly grew into wider protests against Macron, whom many accuse of representing a Parisian elite with little understanding of their monthly struggle to make ends meet.

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