Macron to break silence, address French nation amid protests

Macron to break silence, address French nation amid protests
A worker clears debris in a bank as a man watches through smashed windows, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — Pressure mounted on French President Emmanuel Macron to announce concrete measures to calm protests marked by violence when he addresses the nation Monday evening, and breaks a long silence widely seen as aggravating a crisis that has shaken the government and the whole country.

The president will consult in the morning with an array of national and local officials as he tries to get a handle on the ballooning and radicalizing protest movement triggered by anger at his policies, and a growing sense that they favor the rich.

Macron will speak from the presidential Elysee Palace at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT), an Elysee official said. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said earlier on LCI TV station he was "sure (Macron) will know how to find the path to the hearts of the French, speak to their hearts." But, he added, a "magic wand" won't solve all the problems of the protesters, known as "yellow vests" for the fluorescent safety vests they often wear.

Last week, Macron withdrew a fuel tax hike — the issue that kicked off protests in mid-November — in an effort to appease the protesters, but the move was seen as too little too late.

Demonstrators gather around a burning barricade during clashes with riots police, in Paris, France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. Crowds of protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Demonstrators gather around a burning barricade during clashes with riots police, in Paris, France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. Crowds of protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) (AP)

For many protesters, Macron himself, widely seen as arrogant and disconnected from rank-and-file French, has become the problem. Calls for him to resign were rampant on Saturday, the fourth weekend of large-scale protests.

A demonstrator plays a drum Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
A demonstrator plays a drum Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh) (AP)

"Macron is there for the rich, not for all the French," 68-year-old retiree Jean-Pierre Meunuer said Saturday. Retirees are among the categories to be punished by his policies.

An armored military vehicle drives down the Champs-Elysees avenue after clashes Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
An armored military vehicle drives down the Champs-Elysees avenue after clashes Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh) (AP)

Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud dampened any notion that the minimum wage would be raised, telling LCI that "there will be no boost for the Smic (minimum wage)," because "it destroys jobs."

A riot police officer beats a demonstrator on the Champs-Elysees avenue Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
A riot police officer beats a demonstrator on the Champs-Elysees avenue Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh) (AP)

Paris tourist sites reopened Sunday, while workers cleaned up debris from protests that left widespread damage in the capital and elsewhere. At least 71 were injured in Paris on Saturday.

Riot police officer stand in front a burning trash bin during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. French riot police fired tear gas and water cannon in Paris on Saturday, trying to stop thousands of yellow-vested protesters from converging on the presidential palace to express their anger at high taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Riot police officer stand in front a burning trash bin during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. French riot police fired tear gas and water cannon in Paris on Saturday, trying to stop thousands of yellow-vested protesters from converging on the presidential palace to express their anger at high taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (AP)

The economy minister, meanwhile, lamented the damage to the economy.

Demonstrators run away to avoid tear gas during clashes Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Demonstrators run away to avoid tear gas during clashes Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh) (AP)

"This is a catastrophe for commerce, it's a catastrophe for our economy," Bruno Le Maire said Sunday while visiting merchants around the Saint Lazare train station, among areas hit by vandalism as the pre-Christmas shopping season got underway.

Demonstrators are being checked by police officers Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu)
Demonstrators are being checked by police officers Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu) (AP)

After the fourth Saturday of nationwide protests by the grassroots movement with broadening demands, officials said they understood the depth of the crisis. Le Maire said it was a social and democratic crisis as well as a "crisis of the nation" with "territorial fractures."

Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) (AP)

However, the president must also speak to protesters' pocketbooks. Among myriad demands was increased buying power.

Demonstrators stand behind a burning barricade during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Demonstrators stand behind a burning barricade during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (AP)

French media reported 136,000 protesters nationwide on Saturday, similar to the previous week. However, the number of injured in Paris and nationwide was down. Still, TV footage broadcast around the world of the violence in Paris neighborhoods popular with tourists has tarnished the country's image.

Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) (AP)

Several tourists questioned at the Eiffel Tower, which reopened Sunday after closing Saturday, said they were avoiding the Champs-Elysees, Paris' main avenue that is lined with shops and cafes and normally a magnet for foreign visitors.

Demonstrators drop flat to the ground on the Champs-Elysees avenue during a protest Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Demonstrators drop flat to the ground on the Champs-Elysees avenue during a protest Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh) (AP)

"Yes, we're very concerned with security ... but we couldn't cancel the trip," Portuguese tourist Elizabet Monteero said. But, she added, "We don't go to dangerous zones like the Champs-Elysees."

Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) (AP)

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian politely chastised U.S. President Donald Trump for mocking France in tweets over the 2015 Paris climate accord, which the U.S. is leaving and which Macron has championed worldwide.

Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) (AP)

"We don't take part in American debates. Let us live our own national life," Le Drian said in an interview on the LCI TV station. He said Macron had told Trump the same thing.

Police officers face demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Police officers face demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) (AP)

Trump tweeted twice on the issue over the weekend, saying in one that "the Paris agreement isn't working out so well for Paris," referring to Macron's predicament.

Riot police officers charge during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in the Old Port of Marseille, southern France. The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Riot police officers charge during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in the Old Port of Marseille, southern France. The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (AP)

Nearly 1,000 people, almost 100 of them minors and most without police records, were being held in custody after the Saturday protests in the French capital, Paris chief prosecutor Remy Heitz said, adding that most of those in custody were men under 40 from various regions who came to Paris to protest. Most were taken in for carrying weapons, like knives, or objects that could be used to cause injury, including petanque balls or tear gas.

Riot police officers charge during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Riot police officers charge during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (AP)

Courts were working overtime to process the cases, he said.

Police officers face demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Police officers face demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) (AP)

France deployed around 89,000 police but still failed to deter the determined protesters. More than 125,000 "yellow vests" took to the streets Saturday around France with a bevy of demands related to high living costs and a sense that Macron favors the elite and is trying to modernize the French economy too fast.

Demonstrators stand behind a burning car during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. French riot police fired tear gas and water cannon in Paris on Saturday, trying to stop thousands of yellow-vested protesters from converging on the presidential palace to express their anger at high taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Demonstrators stand behind a burning car during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. French riot police fired tear gas and water cannon in Paris on Saturday, trying to stop thousands of yellow-vested protesters from converging on the presidential palace to express their anger at high taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (AP)

Thierry Paul Valette, who helps coordinate yellow vest protesters who come to Paris, said the president must announce concrete measures to quell the fury.

Riot police officer stand in front a burning trash bin during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. French riot police fired tear gas and water cannon in Paris on Saturday, trying to stop thousands of yellow-vested protesters from converging on the presidential palace to express their anger at high taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
Riot police officer stand in front a burning trash bin during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. French riot police fired tear gas and water cannon in Paris on Saturday, trying to stop thousands of yellow-vested protesters from converging on the presidential palace to express their anger at high taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (AP)

It won't be enough to announce negotiations, he said in an interview with The Associated Press. People want change and "concrete, immediate, right now" measures.

People run away from a burning car during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
People run away from a burning car during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) (AP)

Even if Macron withdraws his signature slashing of the wealth tax, "half of the yellow vests will go home, the other half will want him to resign and will stay in the streets," Valette predicted. "Because the movement isn't controllable."

A municipal worker removes a tag, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A municipal worker removes a tag, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (AP)

There was also damage in other cities, notably Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

A woman walks past a bank protected with wooden planks, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A woman walks past a bank protected with wooden planks, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (AP)

Seventeen of the injured were police officers. Jean-Claude Delage of the Alliance police union urged the government on Sunday to come up with responses to France's "social malaise." He told BFM television that working class protesters were deliberately targeting high-end shops in Paris that were selling goods they couldn't afford.

A man walks near a coffee shop whose windows are broken in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018.Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A man walks near a coffee shop whose windows are broken in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018.Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (AP)

Luxury shops on the posh Avenue Montaigne were totally boarded up on Saturday.

A man walks near a coffee shop whose windows are broken in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018.Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
A man walks near a coffee shop whose windows are broken in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018.Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (AP)

In a knock at Macron, graffiti on the wall of one read: "You don't cross the street, you take it," mocking the president's response to a young unemployed gardener that he can "cross the street" to find a job.

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Associated Press journalists Angela Charlton, Nicolas Garriga, Florent Bajrami and Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report.