Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump mocks Macron again over French fuel tax protests

Trump mocks Macron again over French fuel tax protests

However, that move had fuelled criticism that Emmanuel Macron was a "president of the rich", since it would have eased the tax burden for numerous country's wealthiest citizens.

Despite the protests, President Macron then announced further taxes on fuel, set to take effect on January 1, 2019, in a move he said was necessary combat climate change and protect the environment, leading to the so-called yellow vest protest movement, which takes its name from the high-visibility jackets participants have adopted as a symbol of their complaint.

The rising cost of gasoline and diesel fuel sparked protests that have since evolved into broader demonstrations against Macron's government, exposing tensions between the metropolitan elite and rural poor.

In addition to their dissatisfaction with the government's offer regarding the price hikes, the yellow vest protesters have widened the scope of their demonstrations and demands in recent days. The Arc de Triomphe was sprayed with graffiti and vandalised.

On Tuesday, the French prime minister Edouard Philippe made a decision to suspend planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests by the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement, marking the first major U-turn by Macron's administration in 18 months in office. French officials said they are created to move the country away from fossil fuels and part of an effort to fight climate change.

Whether or not the cancellation of the fuel tax will end the protests is unclear as members of the movement have already called for a "fourth act" to take place on Saturday.

He also visited local government offices in the central town of Puy-en-Velay, which were torched during a protest last weekend - and was booed upon leaving.


Leftwing critics and labour unions have said the tax cut for the rich was particularly galling since Mr Macron's government has raised taxes or cut benefits for pensioners and others at the lower end of the social ladder.

Damien Abad, a lawmaker from the center-right Les Republicains party, called the tax delay "too little, too late". "It's a change of course".

U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to mock Macron over the policy shift, which could make it harder for France to meet its Carbon dioxide emissions reduction target, a core element of the Paris climate agreement of 2015.

"I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago", Trump tweeted.

In the nearby port city of Marseille, students clashed with police outside a high school.

"The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters...in the world".

The message was driven home by Édouard Philippe, the prime minister, who told parliament: "What is at stake is the security of the French people and of our institutions". Pensioners marched to protest the president's perceived elitism.

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