e French government says its cracking down on the violent protests that have become almost routine in some French cities. Every weekend since mid-November, tens of thousands of yellow vests or gilets jaunes protesters have rallied against rising fuel taxes, high living costs, and the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron, which they see as favoring the wealthy.
Last Friday, the government dismissed them as agitators, trying to topple the administration. Now, it says it's cracking down on the movement, with plans to toughen laws on unauthorized protests. That could include the sort of individual banning orders currently used against known soccer hooligans. The Prime Minister says people should also pay for the damage they caused.
> We need to preserve the right to protest in France and we must sanction those who do not wish to respect that right.>> It's a shift in approach for Emmanuel Macron's government. His popularity ratings are at a record low, with recent polls suggesting only a quarter of French people approve of his presidency.
Last month, he tried to appease the protesters with promises of tax cuts, wage rises, and the scrapping of planned fuel tax increases.>>
>> But his concessions failed to stop calls for his resignation. Macron is now preparing to settle economic and employment plans for the country in the next few months.