France Could Change Position on Wealth Tax, Macron Ally Suggests

Demonstrators in Paris built a barricade during a protest Saturday of the Yellow vests known as Gilets jaunes. The group is railing against rising oil prices and living costs in France

Trade unions and farmers pledged Wednesday to join nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron, as concessions by the government failed to stem the momentum of the most violent demonstrations France has seen in decades.

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.

In the nearby port city of Marseille, students clashed with police outside a high school. Pensioners marched to protest the president's perceived elitism.

Trade unions have not so far played a role in the improvised movement, but are now trying to capitalize on the growing public anger.

It quickly grew into wider protests against Macron, whom many accuse of representing a Parisian elite with little understanding of their monthly struggle to make ends meet.

The ISF was replaced with a less onerous tax on property holdings with a combined valued of more than €1.3m - though it excluded investments in property shares. He said that the French who have worn yellow vests "want taxes to drop, and work to pay".

Demonstrators were also blocking toll booths, letting drivers pass without paying, to press demands that ranged from income and pension rises to the dissolution of the National Assembly, France's parliament.

"We need taxes, but they are not properly redistributed", protester Thomas Tricottet told BFM television. Student protests blocked or otherwise disrupted about 100 high schools around the country blocked or otherwise disrupted by student protests Tuesday, according to the French Education Ministry.

"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".

"No tax is worth putting the nation's unity in danger", Philippe said, just three weeks after insisting that the government wouldn't change course in its determination to wean French consumers off polluting fossil fuels.

"If something isn't working, we're not dumb, we'll change it", government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on RTL radio, though "the issue is not on the table for now".

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

The most violent protests took place last weekend while Macron attended the G-20 (Group of 20) meetings in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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

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.

The announcement comes just weeks after the country's most violent riots in decades began on November 17 in response to the government's attempt to wean consumers off fossil fuels by elevating taxes.

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