French govt. could consider bringing back wealth tax

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He refused suggestions that he resign in the wake of the worst riots in Paris since 1968.

Police unions and local authorities are holding emergency meetings Thursday to strategize - while disparate groups of protesters are sharing plans on social networks and chat groups.

Philippe told the Senate he was open to new measures to help the lowest-paid workers while Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he was prepared to accelerate tax cuts for households and that he wanted workers' bonuses to be tax-free.

An interior ministry official told AFP earlier that authorities were bracing for "significant violence" on Saturday, based on indications that protesters on both the far right and far left are planning to converge on the capital.

Tickets bought online will be refunded, the company operating the Paris monument said on Twitter.

Rescinding the fuel tax hike was the main demand of the demonstrators, alongside a higher minimum wage and the return of a wealth tax on high-earners which was abolished a year ago.

On Thursday, students blocked some 200 French high schools to protest education reforms.

The movement has evolved into a general expression of discontent of the policies of the metropolitan elite, with the Yellow Vests protesting also against taxes, the cost of living, and the progressive president's plan to sign the controversial UN Migration Compact next week.

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

A French poll on Thursday showed that only 23 per cent of people trusted Macron, less than trusted his predecessor François Hollande at the same period in his presidency. The former investment banker, who has pushed pro-business economic reforms to make France more globally competitive, is accused of being the "president of the rich" and of being estranged from the working classes.

These so-called carbon taxes are expected to be a major part of pushing the world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and try to prevent runaway climate change that economists say would be far more expensive over the long term than paying more for energy in the short term.

"No tax merits putting the unity of the nation in danger", he said. But they are trying to attract support from other opposition forces.

On Tuesday, his centrist government caved in and surrendered to the rioters, announcing a six-month suspension of the fuel tax increase - but not a scuttling of it - in response to the violent protests, which are now in their third week.

Half of this weekend's scheduled French league football matches have been canceled due to security concerns.

Clement Rozey, manager of a motorcycle shop in western Paris, spent two days and two nights cleaning up after he watched powerless as a group of thugs smashed his shop windows and emptied his shelves. Although Macron activated an additional 4,600 security personnel and had tall barriers erected along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, demonstrators managed to reach the Arc de Triomphe, partly vandalizing the war memorial under the arch. "Everything has been fenced off, several times".

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

"We are facing people who are not here to protest, but to smash and we want to have the means to not give them a free rein", Philippe said during an interview on TF1 national evening news. The protesters "are defending a cause, they're following through and rightly so". But violent troublemakers who pillage and riot - "that's something else".

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