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French PM to meet Yellow Vest protesters ahead of new demo

media Yellow Vest protesters on the Champs Elysées on Saturday 24 November REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is to meet representatives of the Yellow Vest protests on Friday, the day before a third day of action that is planned to include a march on paris's Champs Elysées.

After two of the protests' initiators met Environment Minister François de Rugy on Tuesday, Philippe has announced he will meet a larger delegation on Friday afternoon.

The pair who met de Rugy, Eric Drouet and Priscilla Ludosky, said the government appeared to have "no intention of people's lives" and called for Saturday's demonstration to go ahead.

It was unclear on Thursday who Philippe would actually meet.

A delegation of eight spokespeople named by a meeting in Paris on Monday was dissolved the next day after complaints that there had not been sufficient consultation on the choice.

A new set of representatives are now supposed to be chosen, with Drouet and Ludosky remaining the movement's intermediaries with the government in the meanwhile.

And Drouet has said he would not meet any government representatives until the new delegation has been picked.

On Thursday Philippe met local councillors as part of a wide-ranging consultation on environmental and social questions.

Several of them, from both right and left, called on the government to make some "gestures" to satisfy the discontent articulated by the Yellow Vests before Christmas.

List of demands

Monday's meeting issued a list of proposals, garnered from 35,000 suggestions made on Facebook.

They ranged from a call for a reduction in all indirect taxes to the dissolution of the Senate and the creation of citizens' assembly.

There are also signs that many of the protesters are changing their tactics.

Instead of drive-slows and blockades on roads, they are targeting official institutions, such as tax offices and préfectures (central government representation in the regions).

Attacks on anti-speeding radars have also increased.

Mayor in hot water

One local dignitary, Guy Lefrand who is mayor of Evreux in Normandy, found himself in trouble with the local prefect on Thursday after a video was published of him encouraging Yellow vests to picket police stations, the préfecture or tax offices.

"The prefect of the Eure has learnt with stupefaction of Guy Lefrand's statement, which in no way correspond to the normal relations between the mayor and the prefect," a statement by the préfecture said.

The video has since been removed from Facebook.

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