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French PM suspends fuel tax hike

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Paris: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday announced a six-month suspension of a fuel tax rise which has led to weeks of violent protests.

In a televised address, Philippe said that people’s anger must be heard, and the measures would not be applied until there has been proper debate with those affected.

He said that the six-month suspension would be applied to fuel tax increases, as well as hikes in electricity and gas prices and strict vehicle emissions controls.

The protests have hit major French cities, causing considerable damage for the past three weekends.

Three people have been killed and hundreds injured in the clashes since the unrest began in November.

The planned new tax was to increase gasoline price by 4 euro cents per litre from January next year. Gasoline currently costs about 1.42 euros a litre here, slightly more than diesel.

The price of diesel, the most commonly used fuel in French cars, has risen by about 23% over the past 12 months to an average of 1.51 euro per litre, its highest point since the early 2000s.

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