France Holds Emergency Meetings After Worst Unrest in 50 Years

'Yellow jacket' protest started after fuel tax hike
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2018 7:17 AM CST
France Faces Worst Civil Unrest in 50 Years
Demonstrators face riot police officers during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

What started with a protest against rising fuel taxes has become the most sustained unrest the country has dealt with since the Paris uprising in May 1968—and authorities have decided to talk to the protesters instead of declaring a state of emergency. President Emanuel Macron instructed Prime Minister Édouard Philippe to hold emergency talks after he returned from the G-20 summit Sunday and toured the damage in Paris, the Guardian reports. More than 130 people were injured and more than 400 arrested during Saturday's unrest, in which cars were burned, stores looted, and the Arc de Triomphe tagged with graffiti, the AP reports.

Macron was booed by crowd members as he toured the damages caused by the anti-government "gilets jaunes," protesters who wore the bright yellow vests French motorists are required to keep in their cars in case of emergency, France24 reports. There were also injuries and arrests in demonstrations in other French cities Saturday. The government says Philippe will announce "new measures" this week. He is holding talks with other political leaders Monday and is expected to meet protest leaders on Tuesday, followed by a debate in the National Assembly on Wednesday. Socialist leader Olivier Faure urged the government to defuse protests by dropping the fuel tax hikes and restoring a recently dropped wealth tax. (More Paris stories.)

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