Macron orders French PM to hold talks with parties, protestors

Paris: In the wake of ‘yellow vest’ protests across the country, mainly over the fuel price hike, President Emmanuel Macron here on Monday ordered the Prime Minister Édouard Philippe to hold talks with political leaders, as well as the demonstrators to end the nationwide protests.

Al Jazeera cited a statement, issued by the French President after meeting members of his government on Sunday, stating that Macron has also asked his interior minister to prepare security forces for protests that may erupt in Paris or elsewhere in the country.

A source from the French presidency was quoted as saying that Macron would not speak to the nation despite calls for providing immediate concessions to the demonstrators. The French President, according to the source, even added that the idea of imposing a state of emergency had not been discussed.

The Sunday’s meeting was conducted after the French capital was converted into a battle zone by the ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations for the third consecutive weekend on Sunday.

The French police responded with tear gas, after protesters hurled stones and projectiles towards them, injuring at least 133 people, including 23 members of the security forces, Al Jazeera reported.

The French capital has been witnessing widespread violent protests lately with agitators resorting to looting and vandalising shops, setting cars and buildings ablaze and fighting with the police. Ruckus was also created in several other cities and towns across France including Charleville Mezieres, Nantes and Marseille.

Since January 2018, diesel prices have increased by around 23 per cent, while petrol is retailed at 15 per cent higher costs. The prices are expected to rise further next month.

Speaking on the protests, Macron asserted that his country will not change their decision on the hike in fuel prices. He further condemned the violence and stated that those causing it will be brought to justice.