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Macron Promises Minimum Wage Raise in Response to Devastating Riots

Gas tax protesters wreaked havoc on France for four weekends in a row ahead of the president's address on Monday

French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to placate anti-government protesters who have been revolting against gasoline and diesel tax increases by pledging on Monday to lower some of the taxes and work toward raising minimum wages.

Paris and other cities have been rocked by violent protests for four weeks; people have been retaliating against the French government’s decision to address global warming concerns by hiking taxes on gasoline and diesel.

The government’s goal is to abide by the pledges it made in signing onto the sweeping 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

This includes slashing the country’s carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2050.

But the “yellow vest” protesters — so named because of the fluorescent yellow safety vests they wear — carried out increasingly violent and destructive actions while accusing Macron of favoring the rich over the poor with the tax hikes.

“In France, there’s always existed a divide between the big cities and outlying areas. But these days the gulf is growing wider and wider,” yellow vest protester Stephan Hirelle said on November 29, according to Reuters.

Protester Jean-Marie Camus said, “There’s a total disconnect between [Macron] and us,” according to Reuters.

“What he says counts for nothing. Taxes keep going up. Essentially, it’s a declaration of war.”

More than 8,000 police officers struggled to quell the violence over the past weeks as approximately 10,000 protesters wreaked havoc on Paris and other cities.

Macron (pictured above), a former investment banker, even canceled the diesel and gasoline tax increases last week, but to no avail.

Just this past weekend alone, police arrested as many as 2,000 protesters in one day and roughly 264 people were injured, Fox News reported.

The still-deepening crisis led Macron to address the protesters and the nation at large on Monday.

While rebuking those who took to the streets for their “inadmissible violence,” the French president still promised to use “all means” possible to placate the protesters.

“When violence is unleashed, freedom stops,” Macron warned.

Just this past weekend alone, police arrested as many as 2,000 protesters in one day and roughly 264 people were injured, Fox News reported.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday on RTL radio that “we are ready to make any gesture” that will work to bridge the divide and restore piece.

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“What is important now is to put an end to the crisis and find peace and unity in the country again,” Le Maire added.

Protester Corinne Ryckaert told NPR on Monday that “we feel more and more boxed in” because “gas is going up, and highway tolls are going up.”

“If you avoid the highway and take the back roads, you end up using more gas or you get a ticket for speeding because they’ve lowered the speed limit, so no matter what you do, you pay,” Ryckaert lamented.

“We feel like we’re back in the Middle Ages and we’re paying the [feudal] lord to live on his land.”

President Donald Trump, who withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, addressed the riots on Twitter on Saturday, writing, “Very sad day & night in Paris. Maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement and return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes? The U.S. was way ahead of the curve on that and the only major country where emissions went down last year!”

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