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'Gilets jaunes': protests continue in France despite government's fuel tax climbdown

'Gilets jaunes': protests continue in France despite government's fuel tax climbdown
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Emmanuel Macron's government has climbed down over the 'gilets jaunes' ('yellow vests') protests — but that hasn't quelled the anger in some parts of France.

Euronews' Anelise Borges spent time with demonstrators at a sit-in on a roundabout in Lille, in the north of the country.

They are still upset despite French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe yesterday announcing a six-month suspension of the tax increase.

"My father was a miner, he worked hard all his life, he participated in May 1968 and I'm not ashamed," one protester at Lille told Euronews.

"Thanks to Mai 1968 we got 30% [improved spending power].

“Now Mr Macron, you need to listen to the people, because you're not listening to the people because there is misery in France."

The 'gilets jaunces' protests began three weeks ago over fuel tax hikes but have spread to include people upset over the cost of living.

While the majority of the protesters have been peaceful, violent elements, especially in Paris, have shocked the nation.

After violence at the weekend, Philippe announced the tax hikes would be suspended on Tuesday afternoon.

“Anyone would have to be 'deaf or blind' not to see or hear the rolling anger on the streets,” Philippe told the National Assembly.

“But no tax deserves to endanger the unity of the nation," he added.

It’s a huge change of tack for a government whose president promised during his election campaign that he would never bow down to protests in the way his predecessors allegedly had done.

The reaction of other politicians was damning.

"If your only response, Mr Prime Minister, is the suspension of Macron's fuel taxes, then you still haven't realised the gravity of the situation,” said Damien Abad, from the centre-right party, Les Republicans.

“Your announcements today condemn the French people to a few months' deferments but what they are asking you, it's not the suspension but the cancellation of the fuel taxes. It’s too little, too late."

Student protesters in cities across France who have been complaining over education reforms for several weeks have now declared support for the yellow vests.

Two transport unions are to hold a strike at the weekend.