France to announce suspension of fuel tax hikes that provoked riots, media says

France reportedly considering a state of emergency amid the violence; Benjamin Hall reports on the growing riots.

Edouard Philippe, the minister, is expected to announce the planned increase will be suspended for several months, Le Monde and France Info radio reported. Philippe is also expected to announce other measures aimed at easing tensions.

Tear gas, water cannons used in France fuel protestsThe protests, which began in mid-November, have grown increasingly violent. Over the weekend more than 130 people were injured and over 400 were arrested in the nation’s capital. Officials have called it the worst in the country in decades.

The protesters say they want to level a playing field that they believe is tipped in favor of the elite and well-off city dwellers.

The fuel tax “was the spark,” said Thierry Paul Valette, a Paris protest coordinator, in an interview. “If it hadn’t been (that), it would have been something else.”

“People want fair fiscal justice. They want social justice,” he added, as well as improved purchasing power.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.