French government ‘to suspend fuel tax increase’

Reports say the PM, Édouard Philippe, will announce suspension following protests

The French government will announce it is suspending plans to introduce an eco-fuel tax after three weeks of increasingly violent protests, according to reports in French media.

The prime minister, Édouard Philippe, was due to meet cabinet ministers on Tuesday morning to agree a response to a weekend of rioting, looting and destruction in Paris by an extreme fringe of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement.

The tax on petrol and diesel, due to increase next month in a move towards cleaner fuels, sparked national demonstrations that quickly grew to encompass wider anger and frustration at the country’s leaders.

President Emmanuel Macron had repeatedly vowed not to give in to street rule, but has been forced to reconsider after the worst violence in Paris in half a century.

Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday that Philippe would declare the fuel tax rises were being suspended during a meeting of MPs from the ruling La République En Marche (LREM). The PM met leaders of France’s main political parties on Monday.

On Monday evening, Macron held an emergency meeting at the Élysée Palace to deal with the political and social crisis, the most serious since he was elected on a centrist, reforming programme last May.

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