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Macron faces heat to calm French gas protests

French fuel tax protests turn violent

PARIS - The pressure is on French President Emmanuel Macron after a second weekend of sometimes violent protests over rising fuel taxes that reached the heart of Paris.

Scattered protests continued Monday as drivers blocked roads from the Pyrenees to Brittany.

Macron promised to explain on Tuesday his plans for weaning France off fossil fuels, the reason for the small tax hikes.

The protests are a major challenge for Macron, drawing disparate demonstrators with no clear leader or mission. Tense clashes Saturday reached Paris' high-end Champs-Elysees.

A local protest leader in Toulouse, Benjamin Cauchy, said Monday on BFMTV the movement is at a turning point and the next step will hinge on what Macron has to say.

Cauchy said protesters should respect the media, after journalists were attacked, chased or threatened while covering Saturday's events.

Economic impact assessment

France's finance minister has said he will meet with the country's employers' federation and retailers to assess the economic impact of violent clashes with police over fuel tax hikes.

Police bulldozers and garbage trucks cleaned up rubble on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday, a day after 8,000 people demonstrated against the fuel tax. Some of the protesters torched barriers and plywood boards. Paris' most iconic boulevard and its surrounding streets were littered with piles of charcoal debris.

Paris police have said that 24 people were injured.

On Monday, Bruno Le Maire told BFMTV he'll meet with representatives "from retailers, merchants, craftsmen, chambers of commerce and the employers' federation" to estimate the protest's "impact on sales and on our economy."