Macron promises tax relief, admits own role as French protest

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron broke his silence Monday on the exceptional protests shaking France and his presidency, promising broad tax relief for struggling workers and pensioners — and acknowledging his own responsibility in fueling the nation’s anger.

Speaking with a soft voice and gentle tone, Macron pleaded during a brief televised address for a return to calm after almost four weeks of protests that started in neglected provinces to oppose fuel tax increases and progressed to rioting in Paris.

“We are at a historic moment for our country,” the French leader said from the capital’s presidential Elysee Palace. “We will not resume the normal course of our lives” after all that has happened.

 


Protesters spent days demanding that Macron speak publicly about their concerns, but it’s unclear whether the responses he offered will be enough to quell the dissatisfaction. Some protest representatives have said more demonstrations will be held Saturday, following the ones in Paris that turned violent during the previous two weekends.

Macron declared an “economic and social state of emergency,” ordering the government and parliament to take immediate steps to change tax rules and other policies that hit the wallets of working class French people.

He responded to several of the protesters’ demands, promising measures that included:

— a government-funded 100-euro increase in the minimum wage starting at the beginning of the new year

— the abolition of taxes on overtime pay in 2019

— asking profit-making companies to give workers tax-free year-end bonuses

— slashing a tax hike on small pensions, acknowledging it was “unjust.”

“I take my share of responsibility” for the anger gripping France,” Macron said, an unusual admission for a president accused of being out-of-touch. “I might have hurt people with my words.”

However, the centrist leader insisted that the protesters’ “malaise” is as old as he is — 40 years — and coincides with France struggling in recent decades to keep up with globalization.

And he denounced the protest-associated violence that led to hundreds of injuries, more than 1,000 arrests and the ransacking of stores in some of Paris’ richest neighborhoods.

 


Authorities will show “no indulgence” to those behind the vandalism and rioting, Macron said, adding that “no anger justifies” attacking police or looting stores.

The president’s long silence since the first protests last month aggravated that anger. Many protesters hoped only to hear one thing Monday from Macron: “I quit.”

He showed no signs of giving in. Instead, he defended his political independence and described his devotion to serving France. No French presidential or parliamentary elections are scheduled until 2022.

Graffiti scrawled throughout the French capital singles Macron out for criticism, reflecting a national sense that the former banker is arrogant and removed from public concerns. But he has appeared out determined to continue trying to make the French economy more competitive globally.

Before his TV speech, Macron met with local and national politicians and with union and business leaders to hear their concerns — but with no representatives of the scattered, leaderless protest movement.

Small business representatives lamented the blow the demonstrations were dealing to retail and other companies at the height of the Christmas shopping season.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said new measures should focus on helping France’s working classes.

“We are ready to make any gesture” that works, he said on RTL radio. “What is important now is to put an end to the crisis and find peace and unity in the country again.”

Fallout from the protests so far could cost France 0.1 percent of gross domestic product in the last quarter of the year, Le Maire warned.

“That means fewer jobs, it means less prosperity for the whole country,” he said.

The yellow vest protests began in November against a rise in fuel taxes — which Macron retreated from last week — but mushroomed into a plethora of sometimes contradictory demands. Lately, they have included Macron’s resignation.

“Macron is there for the rich, not for all the French,” 68-year-old retiree Jean-Pierre Meunuer said at Saturday’s protest in Paris.

With the new demonstrations planned Saturday, some police officers who spent multiple weekends on crowd and riot patrol are calling for their own tax-exempt overtime pay.

Key Paris tourist sites reopened Sunday, including the Louvre museum and the Eiffel Tower, while workers cleaned up tons of debris from Saturday’s protests, which left widespread damage in the capital and elsewhere.

French media reported that 136,000 protesters took to the streets nationwide Saturday.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigating the new I-515 southbound to 215 Beltway ramp configuration
After opening at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, the new Interstate 515 southbound to the 215 Beltway westbound freeway ramp configuration caused confusion amongst motorist. Here’s how to navigate the new ramp. (Mick Akers/ Las Vegas Review-Journal).
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like