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France suspends planned fuel price rise amid protests

– Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says hike in electricity and gas prices is also suspended for six months

By Yusuf Ozcan</p> <p>PARIS (AA) – France has suspended a planned fuel price rise for six months after weeks of violent demonstrations, the prime minister announced on Tuesday. </p> <p>In a televised speech, Edouard Philippe said people’s anger must be heard, adding that the move is aimed at stopping the violence and restoring public order.</p> <p>Philippe also said the six-month suspension will also apply to increases in electricity and gas prices.</p> <p>Thousands of &quot;yellow vest&quot; protesters have been gathering in major French cities including Paris since Nov. 17 to protest President Emmanuel Macron's controversial fuel tax and the deterioration of economic situation in France. </p> <p>Demonstrators, who generally live in rural areas due to high rents in the cities, called on Macron to cut fuel taxes and make economic arrangements to ease their lives.</p> <p>On Saturday, French police cracked down on protesters around the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris with tear gas and water cannons.</p> <p>Demonstrators set a large number of vehicles and trash cans ablaze and pelted stones and bottles at the police.</p> <p>In the riots, at least 3 people died, while 1,043 others — including 222 security forces — were injured, and as many as 1,424 people were arrested.</p> <p>According to a recent survey, 84 percent of French people — mostly from the middle-income group — support the protests.</p> <p>Over the last year, fuel prices in France rose more than 20 percent.

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