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French towns demand aid for damage inflicted by "yellow vest" protests

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 13, 2019 - Duration: 01:32s

French towns demand aid for damage inflicted by "yellow vest" protests

Mayors of French cities met with French finance minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday (February 13), demanding more aid for their communities, especially for business owners who bear the brunt of weekly "yellow vest" protests.

David Pollard reports.

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French towns demand aid for damage inflicted by "yellow vest" protests

France's yellow vest protests have focused their rage on Paris in recent months .... But not only Paris.

This was the western city of Nantes eleven days ago.

Where it and other cities - like Paris - have suffered a hit to business.

An association of mayors from France's second cities met the finance minister on Wednesday to call for action.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) TOULOUSE MAYOR JEAN-LUC MOUDENC, SAYING: "Our message concerns the economic life of our cities, particularly our town centres, which are deserted every single Saturday.

Whether there is violence - which happens majority of the time - or whether there is none, shoppers have deserted our town centres." And action was promised .... (SOUNDBITE) (French) FINANCE MINISTER BRUNO LE MAIRE "We have decided to work on a universal plan to take into account the impact of these demonstrations on town budgets, and will also offer the necessary security response." One estimate puts damage and loss of revenue at 30 million euro for urban communities.

For individual businesses, the bills also mounting.

Air France KLM said the protests had cost sales 15 million euros in sales.

Retail giant FNAC Darty reported a 45 million euro hit .... The biggest bill of all goes to the French government.

In a bid to quell the widespread popular unrest, President Macron pledged tax cuts for pensioners and minimum wage increases that will cost France an additional 8-10 billion euros.

And is likely to push its budget deficit past the 3 percent limit set by the EU.

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