France Suspends Planned Fuel Price Rise Amid Protests

France has suspended a planned fuel price rise for six months after weeks of violent demonstrations, the prime minister announced on Tuesday.

In a televised speech, Edouard Philippe said people’s anger must be heard, adding that the move is aimed at stopping the violence and restoring public order.

Philippe also said the six-month suspension will also apply to increases in electricity and gas prices.

Thousands of “yellow vest” protesters have been gathering in major French cities including Paris since Nov. 17 to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial fuel tax and the deterioration of economic situation in France.

Demonstrators, who generally live in rural areas due to high rents in the cities, called on Macron to cut fuel taxes and make economic arrangements to ease their lives.

On Saturday, French police cracked down on protesters around the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris with tear gas and water cannons.

Demonstrators set a large number of vehicles and trash cans ablaze and pelted stones and bottles at the police.

In the riots, at least 3 people died, while 1,043 others including 222 security forces were injured, and as many as 1,424 people were arrested.

According to a recent survey, 84 percent of French people mostly from the middle-income group support the protests.

Over the last year, fuel prices in France rose more than 20 percent.

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