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France: 'yellow vests' expose Macron's Achilles heel

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 30, 2018 - Duration: 01:34s

France: 'yellow vests' expose Macron's Achilles heel

France's ongoing 'yellow vest' protests against a diesel tax rise and higher living costs have exposed divides in French society.

As Francis Maguire reports, many protesters see President Macron's initial unyielding response as proof of his distance from them.

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France: 'yellow vests' expose Macron's Achilles heel

Paris braces for yet more protests.

Clearing rails as fears grow the Champs-Elysee could see more scenes like this.

The so-called 'Yellow Vest' protests against a new diesel tax have spread across parts of France, And enjoy broad public support.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH CITIZEN FROM TOULON, BRIGITTE, SAYING: "I completely agree (with the protesters).

But what I find regrettable is to see the measures being taken against any possible damage this morning on the Champs Elysees, but I support this movement." The protests are the most sustained challenge to President Macron since his 2017 election.

His move to get rid of a wealth tax and raise a social welfare levy also fuelled anger - particularly in small villages and towns.

Macron's initial response to the protests was unyielding, But for some THAT made the former banker look out of touch with blue-collar workers.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) PROTESTER AND TRUCK DRIVER, JEAN-MARIE CAMUS, SAYING: "There's a total disconnect between him and us.

What he says counts for nothing.

He wants to stick to his policies, raising and raising taxes.

Well then fine!

On Saturday, we'll be going again to Paris.

Essentially it's a declaration of war, war with the French people." The next round of fuel tax hikes are due in January.

Macron argues they're needed to fight climate change - but he's given himself some room to back down later, Calling for a quarterly review of pump prices to ensure the tax is 'fair'.

He's offered talks with representatives of the protestors The President has his work cut out to calm this down.

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