Majority of French people back nationwide blockades on rising fuel tax
Two thirds of French people approve a nationwide social action and blockades scheduled for next week to oppose a government plan to hike the fuel tax, a survey showed Thursday.
A BVA poll for the French newspaper La Tribune showed that 65 percent of 1,094 respondents support the protests, with 42 percent of them having the intention to take the streets on Nov. 17.
Only 23 percent think an increase in the carbon tax is necessary to curb climate change. Meanwhile, a large majority fear the rise would impact their financial situation, the survey's figures showed.
Drivers called for blockades and go-slow operations across the country to express their refusal of the tax and a rise in the diesel price, the most commonly used car fuel in France.
Struggling to reverse a sharp fall in popularity and defending a policy that hard-working citizens say favors the rich, President Emmanuel Macron said public criticism would not divert him away form his plan.
"I fully assume the diesel tax," he told regional newspapers earlier this week. "What we know is that the most important pollution comes from millions of old diesel vehicles that consume more fuel."
"I prefer taxing fuel to taxing labor. People complaining about rising fuel prices are the same ones who complain about pollution and how their children suffer," he added.
To absorb the mounting social roar, the head of state vowed to help low-income households and motorists cope with rising fuel costs through a package of measures that would be outlined "in the coming days," according to Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne.
The online poll was carried out on November 6-7, BVA said.