One killed and dozens injured in French fuel tax protests

19 November, 2018, 11:17 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Protesters block a crossroads in Saint-Maximin

Tens of thousands of people across France have protested against high fuel prices, in mass rallies that turned violent when clashes erupted in parts of the country and a protester was accidentally run over and killed by a auto.

Tempers flared at times as some drivers confronted the protesters or tried to force their way through the barricades.

Diesel prices have surged 23% over the previous year and it's President Macron who's taking the blame. He said 157 people were detained for questioning - double the number reported Saturday night.

The injured, 409 in total, included 28 members of the police, military police, and fire brigade.

However, the government minister responsible for making France greener, François de Rugy, said nothing about reversing the changes, insisting there are problems that have to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Thirty-eight people were taken into custody.

Protesters say he is neglecting the lower and middle classes, pointing to tax cuts for high earners and companies.

In the eastern Savoie region a 63-year-old woman was killed when a mother trying to bring her daughter to the doctor panicked after protesters surrounded their auto, and suddenly accelerated into the crowd. Among the injured was a police officer in the Mediterranean city of Grasse.

A demonstrator talks to a truck driver
A demonstrator talks to a truck driver

Protesters, wearing yellow safety vests and dubbing themselves the "yellow jackets, " pledged to target tollbooths, roundabouts and the bypass that ring Paris.

Police at first held back protesters from advancing on Paris's Champs-Elysees, with police vans blocking them from moving down the famed avenue, but up to 200 people were later seen walking down the street, apparently heading towards the Elysee presidential palace.

A woman has been killed in a "tragic accident" after a vehicle rammed into protesters in France.

The protesters are nicknamed "yellow vests" for the high-visibility jackets they wear.

The protesters' chief complaint: the rising cost of diesel fuel. Other issues, like buying power, melted into the main demand as the demonstrations unfolded.

"The carbon tax will be kept in place".

Many drivers see it as emblematic of a presidency they view as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties and serving the rich.

"There are many young people among us because we can't make ends meet anymore", said Emilie, a 27-year old temporary sales manager in Cavaillon in the south of the country.

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