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French prime minister say protests won't force u-turn on fuel price rises

French prime minister say protests won't force u-turn on fuel price rises
By Robert Hackwill
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Edouard Philippe says he has "heard" the French people after two days of road blockades, but that France needs reforms.


Where do the French fuel price rise protesters go from here? Their weekend of road blockades has mobilised hundreds of thousands of people with no party or union support, from Nantes to Nyons, Caen to Cannes, or some 2000 locations nationwide.

Day two showed they have 70% plus of public opinion behind them.

"The second day is to show that the people are fed up, we are here, a lot of young people also, because we can not live like this, we have low wages, we work like crazy and now it's time to say stop. This is not a life, we're doing survival right now," said one young woman.

"We are here to say that we are tired of it and it is the French people who say it, it is the people who stand up. We want to break the state so that they understand, so they can see how we feel, and that they try to understand that we are suffering," said one man.

The government is talking tough, insisting it won't change course and that the fuel price hike is part of its environmental policies, to reduce consumption and raise money for alternative technologies.

"I hear what the French citizens are saying, it's very clear. The movement of yellow vests expresses itself very clearly. So I hear that, but I also say that a government that would be constantly changing feet , who would zizag at difficulties, would do what many governments have done in the past and it wouldn't lead to the country adopting the right reforms," retorted Prime Minister Edouard Philippe..

Nonsense say critics, who claim the government is just clawing back taxes it has reduced elsewhere and boasted about, and that it has not taken into account how the rise hurts the poorest most, and those who live in the countryside with little access to public transport.

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