French government urges no Yellow Vest protests on Saturday

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French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux on Thursday called on the so-called Yellow Vest movement demanding better living standards for low- and midlle income earners not to hold another weekend of protests because of the strain placed on police and security forces after this week's terrorist attack in Strasbourg.

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The French government on Thursday urged "yellow vest" protesters to refrain from holding another round of demonstrations this weekend, citing the strain on security forces on high alert after the terror attack at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, reports The Straits Times.

"For now we have not banned the demonstrations" which some protesters have called to be held on Saturday (December 15th), government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews television.

But he called on the protesters to be "reasonable" after President Emmanuel Macron offered a range of financial relief on Monday, including a minimum wage boost and a tax cut for low-income pensioners.

"Our security forces have been deployed extensively these past few weeks," Mr Griveaux said, while insisting that "it's not up to us to say if the movement should be called off or not".

In the wake of the Strasbourg attack, "it would be better if everyone could go about their business calmly on Saturday, before the year-end celebrations with their families, instead of demonstrating and putting our security forces to work once again", he said.

The "yellow vest" protests began on November 17th over fuel tax increases but quickly evolved into a widespread revolt over declining living standards as well as Mr Macron's perceived indifference to the problems of ordinary citizens.

Even before Monday's concessions, the government had scrapped a fuel tax hike slated for January, a core demand of the protesters, who mainly live in rural areas and smaller towns and rely heavily on their cars.

Read more of this AFP report published by The Straits Times.

 

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