Ambulance drivers in France join ongoing protest against President Macron's reforms

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Paris, France Dec 03, 2018, 02.45 PM (IST)

French ambulance drivers gathered on Monday to join nationwide protests against President Macron's punishing fuel taxes and spiralling living costs, blaming a president who they see as detached from the everyday struggles of life outside the city.

The unrest began as a backlash against fuel tax hikes but has spread. It poses the most formidable challenge yet to Macron's presidency, with the escalating violence and depth of public anger against his economic reforms catching the 40-year-old leader off-guard and battling to regain control.

Macron ordered his prime minister on Sunday to hold talks with political leaders and demonstrators, as he sought a way out of nationwide protests after rioters turned central Paris into a battle zone.

Riot police on Saturday were overwhelmed as protesters ran amok in Paris's wealthiest neighbourhoods, torching dozens of cars, looting boutiques and smashing up luxury private homes and cafes in the worst disturbances the capital has seen since 1968.

The unrest began as a backlash against fuel tax hikes but has spread. It poses the most formidable challenge yet to Emmanuel Macron's presidency, with the escalating violence and depth of public anger against his economic reforms catching the 40-year-old leader off-guard and battling to regain control.

Story highlights

Riot police on Saturday were overwhelmed as protesters ran amok in Paris's wealthiest neighbourhoods, torching dozens of cars.