Demonstrators open the toll gates on motorway near Biarritz, southwestern France, Tuesday, Nov.27, 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to defuse protests over rising fuel taxes by explaining his plans to wean the country off fossil fuels and promising to shift out of cheap nuclear energy more slowly. Poster reads: Americans have Donald, French have Scroog. (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
France’s prime minister is offering to meet with members of a motorists movement who have blocked roads over rising fuel taxes and held protests that caused damage to central Paris.
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Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on BFM television Wednesday that the protesters are expressing “a lot of legitimate things that should be heard.”
The drivers may ignore the outreach. Some are calling for a new action Saturday on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, where a protest last Saturday degenerated into violence.
The drivers denounce perceived elitism by President Emmanuel Macron, who failed to defuse the anger with a speech Tuesday explaining the environmental need for the tax hikes.
Protesters shouted at the minister for overseas territories, Annick Girardin, as she sought to calm tensions Wednesday on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, where demonstrations have been particularly violent.