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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 January 2019

France plans tax crackdown as protests dwindle

Government promises to ensure senior business leaders pay taxes

A protestor holds a placard reading "Macron resign, stop repression" during a "yellow vest" protest in Nantes, western France. AFP
A protestor holds a placard reading "Macron resign, stop repression" during a "yellow vest" protest in Nantes, western France. AFP

The French government is targeting executives who avoid paying taxes in the latest attempt to quell public anger that has brought thousands on to the streets.

Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that heads of businesses in which the state holds a stake must be French residents for tax purposes.

“We're in the process of making sure of that, and we're ready to take any necessary measures if it were not the case,” he said.

Increased scrutiny for business leaders is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s response to the so-called gilet jaune – yellow vest – protests over inequality and the high cost of living.

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Damage to French economy mounts as 'yellow-vest' protests continue

Macron’s ratings fall further after month of protests

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Mr Macron has struggled to shake off the tag of being a president for the rich after abolishing a wealth tax early in his tenure.

Anger at his domestic policies brought more than 280,000 people on to the streets on November 17 in the first of a series of anti-austerity protests.

Numbers attending the protests dwindled to some 12,000 on Saturday amid suggestions that tax cuts and other concessions had taken the sting out of the demonstrations. Mr Macron has also promised a debate on democracy and public spending.

Police fired tear gas at a small gathering of demonstrators in Paris near the offices of several state-run television stations calling for the resignation of the president. Several people were detained in the clashes.

Some protesters said that the numbers dwindled for the holiday season but more were expected on Monday when Mr Macron was expected to deliver an address to the nation on the eve of 2019.

Updated: December 30, 2018 07:19 PM

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