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Paris protests: Embattled French president Macron holds crisis talks in wake of latest violent clashes

'We will listen to him to see if we have been heard,' union boss says

Zamira Rahim
Monday 10 December 2018 18:08 GMT
Paris Protests: 'gilet jaunes' protesters interviewed on the streets of the French capital

Emmanuel Macron is to address the nation after France was hit by a series of violent anti-government protests focused on his leadership.

The French president spent Monday at the Elysee Palace in crisis talks with business and union leaders as well as a range of politicians to hear their concerns.

Union representatives emerging from the talks said Mr Macron gave them no information about the changes he was planning to announce on Monday evening.

Mr Macron is expected to introduce measures to reduce taxes and increase ordinary people's purchasing power.

The 'yellow vest' demonstrations began in November over anger at a planned rise in fuel tax, which the government later scrapped.

But the protests have since grown to encompass widely felt public anger against Mr Macron and his administration.

Mr Macron, a 40-year-old former banker who was elected in May 2017, is felt to be out of touch with ordinary people.

He has attracted further criticism this week for maintaining a low profile as violence raged in Paris.

The demonstrations have disrupted cities and towns across France for four consecutive weekends.

In Paris on Saturday, yellow vest protesters were met by 89,000 police officers, who used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets in an attempt to control the crowds.

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Union leaders said that they would listen carefully to the French leader's announcement.

"We will listen to him with a lot of interest, lots of expectations and some concern as well given the situation," said Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT workers union.

Yves Veyrier, secretary general of the leftist workers union FO, said: "We will listen to him to see if we have been heard."

Additional reporting by agencies

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