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France counts costs of protests, new measures
French President Emmanuel Macron

France counts costs of protests, new measures

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

PARIS — Tax relief and other fiscal measures announced by French President Emmanuel Macron to try to calm nationwide protests will cost 8-10 billion euros ($9-$11 billion), the government said Tuesday.

In parliament, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe went to bat for Macron’s measures, calling them “massive'” and proof that he “has heard the anger.”

After weeks of often violent demonstrations by so-called yellow vest protesters, Macron responded Monday with measures to boost the spending power of retirees and workers, including a 100-euro hike in the minimum monthly wage.

Philippe said the government wants to make jobs pay better without hurting business competitiveness.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said the government will make savings in the state budget to help finance the measures, which he said would cost 8-10 billion euros.

The protests, including blockades of roads, have also caused substantial economic losses to businesses that have lost customers in city and town centres hit by rioting.

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There have also been five protest-related deaths and 1,407 people injured, 46 of them seriously, according to the government’s count.

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