Macron raising minimum wage after weeks of protests in France

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he will raise the country's minimum wage after four weeks of impassioned, and sometimes violent, protests focused on the struggles of the poor and working class. 

Macron in a televised address said that the French minimum wage would increase by 100 euros, or $113.52 per month, in 2019. He added that he feels protesters' anger is "deep, and in many ways legitimate," BBC News reported.


"I assume my share of the situation — I may have given you the feeling I have other concerns and priorities," he added. "I know some of you have been hurt by my words."

"My only concern is you," he said at the end of the speech, according to French outlet The Local. "Our only battle is for France." 

The "yellow vest" movement, named after the florescent safety vests all motorists must have in their vehicles while driving, mobilized last month in the streets of France. A new tax on diesel fuel and gasoline that was intended to aid France's transition to a greener economy initially sparked the protests. The French government canceled that tax last week amid the ongoing protest movement, which has led to violent clashes between demonstrators and police. 

The yellow vest demonstrators are also railing against what they say are poor living conditions, Macron's leadership and the ways they feel marginalized by French society, according to multiple reports. They do not have any official leader and most of their organizing has taken place on social media platforms, particularly Facebook. 

Macron during Monday's speech also said that taxes on overtime pay will be abolished on Jan. 1, months ahead of schedule, The Independent reported. He added that a planned tax hike on pensioners will no longer happen. 

The French president said, however, that "no indulgence" would be given to protesters who had promoted or engaged in violence.

The protests over the weekend were less violent than those in previous weeks, partially due to an increased police presence, NPR reported. More than 1,700 people have reportedly been arrested across the country.