France announced Tuesday a six-month suspension of a fuel tax increase that has led to weeks of violent protests. The country’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, said in a live TV broadcast that “the people who have put on yellow vests love their country,” and that the new taxes would not be applied until there had been proper debate with those affected. The reversal represents a major blow to the authority of President Emmanuel Macron, who had vowed not to cave to pressure from street protests after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was vandalized Saturday. The protesters have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle under French law. The price of diesel, the most commonly used gas in French cars, has risen by around 23 percent over the past 12 months to an average of €1.51 ($1.71) per liter, and a move to impose a further increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol on Jan. 1 triggered the protests.
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