Macron promises minimum wage rise

France Yellow Vest protest: President Macron vows HUGE €100 pay rise | Daily Star

Macron to speed up tax cuts, raise wages after protests

FILE - In this November 24, 2018, file photo, demonstrators march on the famed Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, France, as they protest the rising of the fuel prices.

In apparent attempt to quell the growing social discontent, Macron also announced that minimum wage will be increased by €100 ($113) per month and pledged to introduce special tax exemptions for people earning less than €2,000 ($2,270) per month.

"We will respond to the economic and social urgency with strong measures, by cutting taxes more rapidly, by keeping our spending under control, but not with U-turns", Macron said in a TV address on Monday night.

There is a great deal of scepticism amongst protesters towards a president who has been the instigator of economic policies that have largely benefited the rich while targeting the middle class, students and pensioners. He said he understands the anger against his government runs deep and has been decades in the making.

Five people have died since the start of the protests, which began over increases in fuel tax but have since snowballed into a nationwide opposition force to Macron's agenda and governing style.

"He's throwing sand in our eyes, I don't think that will overwhelm the French", Christophe Chalencon, an organizer from the south of France, said on LCI television. "After three weeks we've forced him to cave in", said Arnaud Ansermier, a construction worker at a picket line around a shopping centre in Saint Etienne in central France.

Authorities will show "no indulgence" to those behind the vandalism and rioting, Macron said, adding that "no anger justifies" attacking police or looting stores.

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A total of 89,000 police and security forces were deployed around the country, with 8000 in Paris alone.

The French cities of Marseilles and Bordeaux saw similar violent outbreaks.

In an interview with French broadcaster BFMTV, a Yellow Vest protester also reacted to the speech saying to Macron, "If you still have respect for your people, resign".

Le Parisien newspaper hailed the speech as Macron's "moment of truth" on its cover yesterday, warning that if he failed to appease the anger, "France will enter a risky period of political instability".

Macron said "the terrorist threat is still at the core of our nation's life", in comments reported by government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.

Demonstrators wearing their yellow vests prepare sausages for lunch on a traffic circle, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 in Douai, northern France.

Demonstrators were unimpressed with the overtures, continuing their blockade of traffic roundabouts nationwide and vowing to fight on. The Macron government had planned a 2.8% deficit, but Mr Ferrand insisted France would "rediscover a rhythm" below 3% from the following year.

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Protests in France getting results.

Small business representatives lamented the blow the demonstrations were dealing to retail and other companies at the height of the Christmas shopping season.

Key Paris tourist sites reopened Sunday, including the Louvre museum and the Eiffel Tower, while workers cleaned up tons of debris from Saturday's protests, which left widespread damage in the capital and elsewhere.

Fallout from the protests so far could cost France 0.1 percent of gross domestic product in the last quarter of the year, Le Maire warned.

"Meanwhile", he said, "we continue the mobilizations".

Taha Bouhafs, 21, a native Parisian, has been one of the many people at the forefront of the Yellow Vest movement and watched Macron's speech unimpressed with the concessions offered.

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