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Macron Breaks Silence, Promises Tax Relief to Quell Protests

French President Emmanuel Macron broke his silence Monday after weeks of violent “yellow vest” protests over a rise in fuel taxes broke out in France’s capital city. Macron took partial responsibility for the social unrest, but denounced the violence and vandalism associated with the protests. “We are at a historic moment for our country,” the French leader said from the presidential Élysée Palace in Paris. “We will not resume the normal course of our lives.” In a demure tone, the president 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 protesters rallied behind. Macron responded to several of the protesters’ demands, promising to issue a 100-euro increase in the minimum wage, abolish taxes on overtime pay, and slash a tax hike on small pensions. Macron already retreated from the fuel-tax hike that sparked the protests. Despite meeting demands, many protesters hoped only to hear one thing from the president: “I quit.”