Thursday 17 October 2019

Macron vows to use ‘all means’ to restore calm after protests

The French president said ‘no anger justifies’ attacking police or looting stores.

Emmanuel Macron (Yoan Valat, Pool via AP)
Emmanuel Macron (Yoan Valat, Pool via AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised “all means” will be used to restore calm after the disruptive protests that have deeply shaken the nation.

On Monday night, Mr Macron addressed France for the first time since anti-tax protests around the country turned into rioting in Paris.

He acknowledged “anger and indignation” among the public over the cost of living, but he also said “no indulgence” would be given to people behind the protest violence.

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French protests (Claude Paris/AP)

He said “no anger justifies” attacking police or looting stores, saying both threaten France’s cherished liberty.

Mr Macron promised to speed up tax relief for struggling workers and to scrap a tax hike for retirees.

He reiterated earlier promises to raise the minimum wage and pledged to abolish taxes on overtime pay starting on January 1, several months before schedule.

He also said a tax hike on pensioners would be scrapped.

All of the measures had been demanded by the yellow-vested protesters who have led four weeks of increasingly radicalised demonstrations against Mr Macron’s presidency.

Mr Macron acknowledged being partially responsible for the anger that fuelled the protests, saying: “We probably have not been able for a year and a half to bring quick enough and strong enough responses.”

He also acknowledged he may have given an impression “not to care” about the concerns of ordinary citizens and “might have hurt” some people with his comments.

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