French govt says growth revised downward due to protests

Bystanders take snapshots of a vandalized perfumery the day after riots erupted on the Champs Elysee avenue during the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations by the yellow vests in Paris, France, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Paris cleaned up one of the world's most glamorous avenues Saturday after resurgent rioting by yellow vest protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron stunned the nation. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
A replica of the Arc de Triomphe is pictured through the smashed window of a perfumery the day after riots erupted on the Champs Elysee avenue during the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations by the yellow vests in Paris, France, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Paris cleaned up one of the world's most glamorous avenues Saturday after resurgent rioting by yellow vest protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron stunned the nation. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Outside view of a store vandalized and set on fire the day after riots erupted on the Champs Elysees during the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations by the yellow vests in Paris, France, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Paris cleaned up one of the world's most glamorous avenues Saturday after resurgent rioting by yellow vest protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron stunned the nation. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)

PARIS — France's finance minister has revised the country's growth forecast this year to 1.4 percent, down from the previous 1.7 percent, partly attributing the new estimate to the yellow vest protests.

Speaking Tuesday at the Senate, Bruno Le Maire said the overall cost of damage linked to the four-month anti-government movement is estimated at 200 million euros ($227 million).

Le Maire said France's revised growth is still higher than government forecasts in neighboring Germany (0.8 percent) and Italy (1 percent). He stressed that the French unemployment rate is decreasing, falling to 8.8 percent at the end of last year, its lowest in 10 years.

The yellow vest movement started in November to protest against French President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies, seen as favoring the rich.

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