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France Pushes Back Planned Fuel Tax Hike Amid Violent Protests

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France Pushes Back Planned Fuel Tax Hike Amid Violent Protests
It comes after weeks of "yellow vest" protests that affected the country's economy.
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A spokeswoman for French President Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday the fuel tax hikes that were set to take effect Jan. 1 will not be introduced until 2020. This is the latest in a series of steps Macron has taken to try to placate nationwide protests.

The announcement was made only a day after the French prime minister said the tax measures would be suspended for six months. He told reporters, "no tax deserves to endanger the unity of the nation."

The move comes after weeks of so-called "yellow vest" protests, which have taken a toll on the country's economy since they started in mid-November. People are protesting fuel prices, the cost of living and Emmanuel Macron's presidency. 

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets, some setting fire to cars and buildings. Hundreds of people have been arrested and dozens more have been injured. 

Macron has defended the taxes, saying they're necessary to reduce France's carbon emissions.

Macron had asked political leaders to meet with protest organizers this week. But a meeting planned for Tuesday fell apart after two of the movement's leaders backed out.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.