French govt moots further concessions to pacify protesters

Ahead of a fourth weekend of "yellow vests" anti-government protests - set to resume on December 8 - a representative of the movement said that they would go to the French president's residence.

The French government is hoping to stave off another day of running riots and burning cars like on Saturday, when more than 400 people were arrested in the capital.

The first "yellow vest" demonstrations - so-called because of the high-visibility jackets all French motorists must carry in their vehicles - were held to contest planned fuel tax increases, but have since evolved into a broader protest movement against French President Emmanuel Macron, who is accused of turning a blind eye to the rising cost of living that has left many struggling to make ends meet.

Until he scrapped the fuel tax rise, Macron's actions after returning from the G-20 summit in Argentina had done little to persuade protesters that he was listening to their concerns.

But since he came to power last May, globalists around the world said the French president's rise marked a political 'new dawn' against "division" and "hate", with many insisting his brand of "radical centrism" was a formula that should be imposed on their own nations. Other police unions are not talking about strikes - but two police union officials told The Associated Press they are anxious about radical troublemakers and others taking advantage of the protest atmosphere to cause even greater damage this Saturday.

Macron, for his part, visited a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters, but he did not speak to reporters. The government is contributing to the fear with dire warnings about new violence by extremists or other troublemakers.

French health minister Agnès Buzyn, speaking to RTL Radio on Thursday morning, said: "There is a concern about this violence, and some who do not want to find a solution".

Turnout for the protests had fallen from about 280,000 three weeks ago to 136,000 last Saturday, with some of the violence, auto burning, spray painting and damage to Paris' historic monuments alienating supporters.

Videos circulating on social media of police beating protesters at a Burger King on the Champs-Elysees have deepened the anger.

"Unlike others, I'm not seeking to apportion blame for this anger", he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron

Macron himself, the central target of the protests, has been largely invisible all week. Small business owners blocked roads to protest high taxes.

The government is trying to calm tensions but not succeeding so far.

Several top-league soccer matches on Saturday have been canceled and the Louvre museum said it and others were awaiting word from Paris officials on whether to close their doors.

He has boarded up the store and will stay closed Saturday.

"We're going to look for solutions together".

He has refrained from speaking publicly about the protests and has largely remained in his palace.

"Trump also retweeted a false claim from American conservative student activist Charlie Kirk that said: "'We want Trump' being chanted through the streets of Paris".

They invariably run into mass protests, however, because they take an immediate bite out of nearly all consumers' pocketbooks, while those consumers see no immediate benefit.

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).

Vanessa Coleman

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