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Economy

Macron falls in the polls again after Yellow Vest protests

media A protester wearing a yellow vest holds a mobile telephone as he listens to French President Emmanuel Macron who addresses the nation about the "yellow vests" crisis at a roundabout in Fontaine-Notre-Dame, France, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

A month of Yellow Vest protests have taken a further toll on the popularity of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Around 66,000 protesters turned out again on Saturday on the fifth round of anti-government demonstrations, which sprung up over fuel tax hikes last month.

The figure was about half the number of the previous weekend, suggesting momentum was waning and the most acute political crisis of Macron's 19-month presidency was coming to an end.

A major poll by the Ifop group published in Journal du Dimanche newspaper showed Macron's approval had slipped another two points in the last month, to 23 percent.

The proportion of people who declared themselves "very dissatisfied" by his leadership jumped by six points to 45 percent.

Many of the protesters have targeted Macron personally, calling on him to resign or attacking his background as an investment banker and his alleged elitism.

Le Bras said the pr.otests had underlined the depth of dislike for Macron's personality and style of governing, which critics see as arrogant and too distant.

Until last week, a clear majority of French people backed the protests, which sprung up initially over high taxes before snowballing into broader opposition to Macron.

In a bid to end the standoff, he announced a package of measures for low-income workers on Monday in a televised address, estimated by economists to cost up to 15 billion euros.

President Emmanuel Macron's address on Monday, December 10

He also acknowledged widespread animosity towards him and came close to apologising for a series of verbal gaffes seen as dismissive of the poor or jobless.

Two polls published last Tuesday -- in the wake of Macron's concessions -- suggested the country was now split broadly 50-50 on whether the protests should continue.

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