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"No tax merits putting the unity of the nation in danger", he said.

The prime minister also spoke of the protesters.

His government has this week offered a series of concessions aimed at boosting the purchasing power of low-income families - but for many "yellow vests", they're insufficient. Soon after taking office he scrapped the so-called wealth tax, which had been imposed on taxpayers with assets worth more than € 1.3 million ($1.47 million). As of yesterday, the plan was to delay it for six months, but that has now been shelved completely in fear that more protests were coming.

Planned tax increases on petrol and diesel on Jan 1 will be suspended for six months, while hikes in regulated electricity and gas prices will be frozen during the winter.

The protests began in mid-November over an nearly banal grievance: Macron's decision to raise the tax on fuel in order to finance renewable-energy proposals.

US President Donald Trump appeared to mock Macron over the policy shift, which could make it harder for France to meet its Carbon dioxide emissions reduction target, a core element of the Paris climate agreement of 2015.

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, clash with riot police on the Champs-Elysee in Paris, Nov. 24, 2018.

Macron's popularity has slumped to a new low since the first demonstrations took place on November 17.

The protest, called the "gilets jaunes", or yellow vests, sprung up after organizers coordinated to wear a uniform fluorescent yellow vest that working class motorists have to carry in their cars by law, the Guardian reported.

The protesters, mainly from small-town and rural France, have broad public support, with an opinion poll this week showing 72 per cent backed the demonstrations despite last weekend's violence.

The city's police chiefs have promised that officers from all units will be present, including the French Anti-Crime Squad known as the BAC, the territorial brigades and all Paris police station staff will be on duty on Saturday. Police used tear gas to control crowds. After winning election overwhelmingly last year, the 40-year-old pro-business centrist alienated many of his own voters with tax cuts for the rich and other badly explained reforms - and what many see as his elitist, out-of-touch attitude.

The former investment banker swept to power at the head of a new grassroots political movement in May previous year but once in office adopted a top-down approach.

But the policy, along with comments deemed insensitive to the working class, has prompted numerous ex-banker's critics to label him a "president of the rich".

The violence over the weekend in Paris, in which more than 130 people were injured and over 400 were arrested, was the worst in the country in decades.

"The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters", Trump tweeted on Tuesday. Some 136,000 people protested in Paris over the weekend.

Macron said the higher tax was his way of trying to prevent the end of the world.

"It's been a good year so far and it's a bit early to talk about what effects [of the protests] will be", she said.

In fact, there is no easy political solution for Macron against a movement that has no leader, no set list of demands and no geographic base.

They have grown to reflect more widespread anger at the government.

Some officials, however, hope that the lack of clear leadership will lead the movement to break apart.

The French government signalled on Wednesday that it was prepared to make further concessions to "yellow vest" protesters, even raising a possible rollback on a controversial move to cut taxes for high earners previous year.


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