Paris protests threaten French economy, warns finance minister

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned that the violent protests and road blockades in Paris will have a negative impact on the economy.

More than 100 people were injured in the French capital and 412 arrested over the weekend during France’s worst urban riot in years, with dozens of cars torched.

The movement, which has been partly stoked by a fuel tax hike, is hurting sales, according to Le Maire, who said at the ministry that “the impact on the French economy was serious” and that some sectors have reported sales declines of between 15 percent to 25 percent.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is holding crisis talks with representatives of major political parties in the wake of the violent anti-government protests.

President Emmanuel Macron held an emergency meeting on security with Philippe on Sunday, and the government hasn’t ruled out the possibility of imposing a state of emergency.

It was the third straight weekend of clashes in Paris. The protests began last month with motorists upset over a fuel tax hike and have grown to encompass a range of complaints that Macron’s government doesn’t care about the problems of ordinary people.

Germany’s foreign minister said his country isn’t worried about anti-government protests in neighboring France and is confident the situation will calm down soon.

Germany and France have traditionally been the European Union’s leading powers. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that “France is needed in Europe, and we know that focusing on such disputes in a country of course consumes energy, but that is completely normal.”

Maas said “France is known for its special protest culture, and I think we’re seeing that now, but from all that I hear and what is planned in the way of talks, we are confident that the situation there will calm down in the foreseeable future.”

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