France deploys security forces amid fears of more riots

Paris riots continue despite fuel tax delay

Thousands of protesters wearing yellow vests have been gathering in major French cities, including Paris, since November 17 to protest President Emmanuel Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation in France.

In the USA many fans of electric and fuel-efficient cars, along with quite a few executives in the mainstream auto industry, have always been critical of Congress for pushing fuel economy mandates onto automakers, rather than providing incentives for consumers to buy greener cars with a gas or carbon tax.

The announcements came as around 200 high schools across the country remained blocked or disrupted by students protesting a raft of education overhauls, on a fourth day of action called to coincide with the anti-government demonstrations.

On Sunday he was booed while surveying the damage caused by rioters in Paris, .

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.

"These people can not respond to the people because they are technocrats", he said.

"He deserves to have his head chopped off, symbolically", he said of Macron, who has been accused of draping himself in the symbols of the pre-revolutionary Ancien Regime.

While the Yellow Vests are led by no political party, both Le Pen and far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon have called for the National Assembly to be dissolved and fresh elections called.

But abolishing it cost the government an estimated €3.2bn in annual tax revenue - and helped earned Mr Macron his reputation as "president of the rich".

But broader discontent with the government has spread, and protests have erupted over several other issues.

The protests against the government began on Nov 17 with motorists upset over a fuel tax hike. But he vigorously defended it and won the presidency in part on a promise to fight climate change. The pattern is worse for retired people - nearly all of whom will be worse off. "If you want to make energy taxes unpopular, step one is to be an unpopular leader", he said.

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Macron, the central target of the protests, has been largely invisible all week. The yellow vest protesters have called him "president of the rich".

Officials fear they could be joined by hooligans set on rioting and looting, as is widely thought to have been the case last weekend.

"It's coming too late". "So far, we haven't seen an unexpected dip in tourism, people are still booking". In September, protests in India over high gasoline prices shut down schools and government offices.

"Higher taxes on fuel have always been a policy more popular among economists than among voters", said Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economist and former adviser to President George W. Bush. That, observers say, makes it more hard for government officials to answer. And because energy costs are nearly impossible to avoid, they feel trapped.

He urged "yellow vest" protesters to stay home for their own protection from those who could hijack the protests, after demonstrations in Paris last Saturday degenerated into rioting and looting.

"Just like everybody, we're strangled (financially) after the 15th of the month", he said, referring to the day when many French workers are paid.

The key is giving a good chunk of money back to the people, Wesleyan University environmental economist Gary Yohe said.

France is being pulled in two different directions on tax - trying to balance wooing business with anger from ordinary citizens over the cost of living.

Workers who live in rural areas far from city centers were the worst-affected by the fuel taxes, as they rely on their cars far more than city dwellers, bolstering protesters' complaints that Macron represents those wealthy enough to live in Paris and other large cities.

"Is it a death knell for the carbon tax or pricing carbon?" I think he was very sensitive about this.

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