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France fuel protests: Macron holds urgent security meeting
World | society | 10:59, 03 December 2018 | 1246

AKIPRESS.COM - French President Emmanuel Macron has held an urgent security meeting following a day of riots by thousands of anti-government protesters, BBCreports.

Ministers said that while no options had been ruled out, imposing a state of emergency had not been discussed during the talks - despite earlier reports.

Protests over fuel tax have grown into general anger at higher living costs.

Three people have been killed in the protests since demonstrations started more than two weeks ago, police said.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet has promised to bring the full force of the law to bear on people who are found to have resorted to violence.

Before the security meeting on Sunday, Mr Macron inspected some of the damage caused in the disturbances, which had centered on Paris.

More than 100 people were injured in the city, including 23 members of the security forces, and nearly 400 people were arrested, police said.

France's interior ministry says about 136,000 people took part in the protests nationwide, showing widespread support for the movement known as the "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests). 

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux earlier told Europe 1 radio that a state-of-emergency declaration was a possible option. "We have to think about the measures that can be taken so that these incidents don't happen again," he said.

The "gilets jaunes" protesters, so-called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law, are complaining at a sharp increase in diesel taxes.

The protest movement has no identifiable leadership and has gained momentum via social media, encompassing a whole range of participants from the anarchist far left to the nationalist far right, and plenty of moderates in between.

Nearly 300,000 people took part in the first country-wide demonstration, on 17 November.

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