President Emmanuel Macron

The French government has announced the suspension of fuel tax increases in a bid to quell fierce protests which have ballooned into the deepest crisis of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday also unveil other measures to help boost the living standards of low-income households in a television address, his office confirmed.

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“We need to calm the situation down to prevent it degenerating,” Philippe told a meeting of MPs from the ruling majority on Tuesday, several people present told AFP.

The demonstrations, which degenerated into street clashes and vandalism in Paris over the weekend, erupted last month over the fuel taxes which are financing France’s anti-pollution efforts.

Originally spurred by the soaring cost of fuel this year, they quickly ballooned into a wider revolt over President Emmanuel Macron, accused of pursuing policies which hit low-income households particularly hard.

Halting the fuel tax increase was one of the main demands listed by “yellow vest” leaders, alongside a higher minimum wage and the return of a wealth tax on high-earners, abolished last year.

Macron made the decision to suspend the 2019 fuel tax hikes late Monday, the sources said after his government spent the day meeting with leaders from all of France’s political parties.