France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Thursday said he was open to new measures to benefit workers on the lowest salaries, as the government scrambled to head off another round of 'yellow vest' protests in Paris this weekend.
Philippe also said 65,000 security force members would be deployed nationwide. Rioters last Saturday torched cars, looted shops and defaced the Arc de Triomphe in the worst unrest the French capital has seen in five decades.
St Etienne/Marseille latest soccer match cancelled over French protests
Authorities have cancelled this weekend's soccer match between St Etienne and Olympique de Marseille - two of France's biggest teams - as concerns mount that anti-government demonstrations this weekend could turn violent.France's Ligue 1 body said on Thursday that the match had been cancelled at the request of local police.The cancellation of the St Etienne/Marseille match follows similar decisions to scrap Monaco's local derby versus Nice and Saturday's Paris St Germain's match.There was no immediate response from the French football federation on whether further matches, or the entire weekend's games, could be called off.France will tax digital giants from 2019 even if no EU-wide agreement: FinMinFrance cancels fuel tax hikes amid protests
Macron administration warns of 'great violence' in Paris from hard core 'yellow vests'
French authorities warned another wave of "great violence" and rioting could be unleashed in Paris this weekend by a hard core of 'yellow vest' protesters, as senior ministers sought to defuse public anger with conciliatory languages on taxes.Despite capitulating this week over plans for higher fuel taxes that inspired the nationwide revolt, President Emmanuel Macron has struggled to quell the anger that led to the worst street unrest in central Paris since 1968.Rioters torched cars, vandalised cafes, looted shops and sprayed anti-Macron graffiti across some of Paris's most affluent districts, even defacing the Arc de Triomphe. Scores of people were hurt and hundreds arrested in battles with police.An official in Macron's office said intelligence suggested that some protesters would come to the capital this Saturday "to vandalise and to kill."Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 65,000 security personnel would be deployed across the country on that day to keep the peace.France cancels fuel tax hikes amid protestsIn a bid to defuse the three-week crisis, Philippe had told parliament late on Wednesday that he was scrapping the fuel-tax increases planned for 2019, having announced a six-month suspension the day before.Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told a conference he was prepared to bring forward tax cutting plans and that he wanted workers' bonuses to be tax-free.But he added: "In this case, it must go hand-in-hand with a decrease in spending."He also said France would impose a tax on big internet firms in 2019 if there was no consensus on a European Union-wide levy, seeking to appeal to the "yellow vests'" anti-business sentiment.Video: Car burns in Paris as high-school students protestSOCCER MATCHES CANCELLEDThe threat of more violence poses a security nightmare for the authorities, who make a distinction between peaceful 'yellow vest' protesters and violent groups, anarchists and looters from the deprived suburbs who they say have infiltrated the movement.On Facebook groups and across social media, the yellow vests are calling for an "Act IV", a reference to what would be a fourth weekend of disorder."France is fed up!! We will be there in bigger numbers, stronger, standing up for French people. Meet in Paris on Dec. 8," read one group's banner.Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer urged people to stay at home during the coming weekend. Security sources said the government was considering using troops currently deployed on anti-terrorism patrols to protect public buildings.France could change position on wealth tax, Macron ally suggestsSeveral top-league soccer matches on Saturday have been cancelled and the Louvre museum said it and others were awaiting word from Paris officials on whether to close their doors.The protests, named after the fluorescent jackets French motorists are required to keep in their cars, erupted in November over the squeeze on household budgets caused by fuel taxes. Demonstrations swiftly grew into a broad, sometimes-violent rebellion against Macron, with no formal leader.Their demands are diverse and include lower taxes, higher salaries and Macron's resignation.France's hard-left CGT trade union on Thursday called on its energy industry workers to walk out for a 48 hours from Dec. 13, saying it wanted to join forces with the yellow vests. The movement, with no formal leader, has so far not associated itself with any political party or trade union.Macron's popularity hits new low amid French protests: pollSTREET POLITICSThe fuel-tax volte-face was the first major U-turn of Macron's 18-month presidency.The unrest has exposed the deep-seated resentment among non-city dwellers that Macron is out-of-touch with the hard-pressed middle class and blue-collar labourers. They see the 40-year-old former investment banker as closer to big business.Trouble is also brewing elsewhere for Macron. Teenage students on Thursday blocked access to more than 200 high schools across the country, burning garbage bins and setting alight a car in the western city of Nantes.Meanwhile, farmers who have long complained that retailers are squeezing their margins and are furious over a delay to the planned rise in minimum food prices, and truckers are threatening to strike from Sunday.Le Maire said France was no longer spared from the wave of populism that has swept across Europe."It's only that in France, it's not manifesting itself at the ballot box, but in the streets."'Yellow vests' riots in Paris cost at least €3M
France will tax digital giants from 2019 even if no EU-wide agreement: FinMin
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday said France will tax digital giants at a national level from 2019 if European Union states cannot reach an agreement on a tax on digital revenues for the bloc.EU finance ministers failed to agree a tax on digital revenues on Tuesday, despite a last minute Franco-German plan to salvage the proposal by narrowing its focus to companies like Google and Facebook."I am giving myself until March to reach a deal on a European tax on digital giants," Le Maire told France 2 television."If it doesn't work out, we will do it at a national level, from 2019," he added.The setback in Brussels this week was a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron, whose government has invested considerable political capital in the tax.It also came at a time when the French government has been beset by nationwide protests against the high cost of living and economic policies perceived as favouring big business and the wealthy, but doing nothing to help the poor.China to stick to 'mutual respect' in dealings with world: XiEU adopts plan on bank money laundering, may delay reformsFrance, Germany aim to keep digital tax alive
France cancels fuel tax hikes amid protests
France has abandoned an increase in fuel taxes following weeks of violent demonstrations.“The government is ready for dialogue and is showing it because this tax increase has been dropped from the 2019 budget bill,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Wednesday in a speech at the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament.The move follows an announcement by Philippe the previous day that tax hikes would be delayed for six months and that the suspension would also apply to increases in gas and electricity prices.Thousands of protesters wearing yellow vests have been gathering in major French cities, including Paris, since Nov. 17 to protest President Emmanuel Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation in France.France could change position on wealth tax, Macron ally suggestsThe demonstrators, who generally live in rural areas due to high rents in the cities, called on Macron to cut fuel taxes and make economic arrangements to ease their lives.On Saturday, French police cracked down on protesters around the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris with tear gas and water cannons.Demonstrators set a large number of vehicles and trash cans ablaze and pelted police with stones and bottles.At least three people have died during the riots while 1,043 others have been injured, including 222 members of the security forces. As many as 1,424 people have been arrested.According to a recent survey, 84 percent of the French people -- mostly from the middle-income group -- support the protests.Fuel prices in France have risen more than 20 percent this year.