French 'Yellow Vests' Reject Macron's Six-Month Tax Delay As Student Protests Intensify

Despite French President Emmanuel Macron letting his people "eat cake" with a six-month suspension of the government's new "climate change" fuel taxes, the so-called "Yellow Vest" movement which has been protesting throughout France for more than three weeks is still spitting mad. 

"We didn't want a suspension, we want the past increase in the tax on fuels to be canceled immediately," said Yellow Vest organizer Benjamin Cauchy on BFM TV. "Suspending the tax to re-instate it in six months is taking the French people for a ride. French people aren't sparrows waiting for crumbs from the government."

The president's silence drew the wrath of some. "Macron has still not deigned to talk to the people," said Laetitia Dewalle, a Yellow Vests spokeswoman, on BFM TV. "We feel his disdain. He maintains his international engagements but doesn't speak to the people."

Sebastien Chenu, a spokesman for Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party which has supported the Yellow Vests in hopes of capturing their votes, said on LCI that "the French won't be fooled. The government has understood nothing, it's just playing for time." -Greenwich Time

Others, however, may have been assuaged by the "limited time moratorium" on the taxes - as a Tuesday BVA opinion poll for La Tribune reveals that 70% of French citizens surveyed think the postponement justifies stopping the Yellow Vest protests. 

Meanwhile, French police ordered the cancellation of two football matches scheduled for Saturday, while French interior minister Christophe Castaner told lawmakers on Tuesday that additional security personnel would reinforce the 65,000 police and gendarmes during this Saturday's planned protests. Some police unions have floated the idea of drafting the army as backup, according to Paris-based journalist Catherine Field. 

French students, meanwhile, have intensified their protests around the country - setting ire to buildings and engaging in violent clashes with the police. The students have "gradually started to get involved" with the Yellow Vest movement, leading to riots in southwest France, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and the city of Orleans. A school in Blagnac, near Toulouse was reportedly set on fire Tuesday, according to Reuters

Macron's backing down comes as his popularity hit a new low. A poll by Ifop for Paris Match magazine and Sud-Radio released Tuesday found the president's support had fallen six points to 23 percent. Philippe was at 26 percent. While Macron and parliament, where his party holds a majority, don't face new elections until 2022, the reversal on taxes may undermine the rest of his reform agenda.

The protesters, who started out blockaded traffic across France, brought their fight to Paris over the last two weekends. They defaced the Arc de Triomphe, burned hundreds of cars and blocked roads and fuel depots. -Greenwich Time

Meanwhile, the Yellow Vest protests continue to take their toll on French businesses - with big-box retailers suffering an average 8% decline in sales on Saturday per Nielsen. 

With all of that said, it will be interesting to see what Saturday brings.