Hundreds of Thousands in France Protest Taxes by Blocking Roads

Hundreds of Thousands in France Protest Taxes by Blocking Roads
France fuel protest: One dead in yellow vest blockades
Thousands of drivers blocked roads across France on Saturday in a “yellow vest” movement against high fuel prices which has mushroomed into a widespread protest against stagnant spending power under President Emmanuel Macron.

Around 50,000 people were taking part in more than 1,000 protests at roundabouts and motorway exits, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

A demonstrator throws a projectile on the streets on November 17 as police stand guard with shields. French Interior Ministry officials estimated at midday that about 244,000 protesters were involved in some 2,000 demonstrations around the country

Frances climate change commitments trigger rising diesel prices and street protests

“Its much bigger than we expected,” said Yves Garrec, a private taxi operator at a roundabout in Toulouse, describing a “good natured” atmosphere among the demonstrators.

Most protests were relatively calm despite the anger expressed by many in interviews and on social media in recent days over the surge in fuel prices this year, in particular for diesel.

The motorist reportedly accidentally hit and killed the protester taking part in a campaign of road blockades across France today as thousands gathered on motorways in a backlash against President Emmanuel Macrons planned fuel taxes increases. 

But one woman was killed when a mother trying to bring her daughter to the doctor panicked when protesters surrounded their car and began banging on the roof, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

The mother panicked and suddenly ploughed into the crowd in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, southeast France, hitting a woman in her 50s.

A demonstrator on the ring road of Rennes, western France, wearing yellow vest stands close to a van on which is written Macron, youre a thief during a protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices today

Castaner said a handful of other injuries had been reported in other areas, including a police officer in the southern city of Grasse outside Nice, by drivers trying to force a way through the blockades.

Point of view “The UK government maintains that it is fully committed to the Good Friday Agreement whilst simultaneously contesting the treaty through the courts. It reassures both the Irish government and EU that it will uphold its commitments whilst fighting to break them.”Emma DeSouza Immigration and citizens' rights campaigner Business

“Were on maximum alert,” he said, reiterating that police would ensure that no roads were completely blocked in order to ensure peoples safety.

Point of view “The UK government maintains that it is fully committed to the Good Friday Agreement whilst simultaneously contesting the treaty through the courts. It reassures both the Irish government and EU that it will uphold its commitments whilst fighting to break them.”Emma DeSouza Immigration and citizens' rights campaigner Business

In Paris, a group of some 50 protesters were yelling “Macron resign!” on the Champs Elysee, though police were stopping them from heading toward the nearby Elysee Palace, the presidents residence.

Point of view “The Houthi threat has not been given due attention in Western capitals. They are not proscribed as a terrorist group by the US State Department, NATO or the EU. This means it is perfectly legal to support or even fundraise for them.”Nathalie Goulet French Senator World

The movement enjoys much broader support than other protests since Macron swept to power last year, with 73 percent of respondents backing the protests in an Elabe poll this week.

French protesters block roads over higher fuel taxes, one dead in accident

Named for the high-visibility jackets worn by the protesters, the “yellow vests” say they are being squeezed by years of fuel tax increases that have driven prices to levels not seen since the early 2000s.

Point of view “Although the EU cannot avert a no deal Brexit if the UK chooses to pursue it, the EU can be ready to assist in avoiding it by leaving the door open for cooler heads, and warmer hearts, in the UK to prevail.”Alyn Smith MEP for Scotland World

Video: Protester dead in France after fuel tax protests

But analysts say the movement now represents more widespread frustration over stagnant spending power under Macron, a former investment banker who promised economic revival and to restore peoples trust in government.

The protests also reflect longstanding anger among many in rural and small-town France who say the government in Paris doesnt understand the challenges facing the vast majority of the French.

Demonstrators were also on the march in cities, including Marseille where around 100 people, wearing the high visibility vests drivers keep in their cars, blocked roads around its port.In Paris, a group of 50 protesters yelled “Macron resign!” on the Champs Elysee, although police stopped them from heading toward his official residence at the nearby Elysee Palace.About 50,000 people took part in more than 1,000 protests at roundabouts and motorway exits, Mr Castaner said.Yves Garrec, a private taxi operator at a roundabout in Toulouse, said: “Its much bigger than we expected.”

“Macron is the president of the rich and not the poor. He needs to think about the poor as well,” said Andre, a 38-year-old with no drivers license who nonetheless joined a blockade in Dole, eastern France.

The driver of the car has been arrested, he added.In total, 16 people were slightly injured in other accidents across the country, while another hit by a car in northern France was in a critical state, according to the interior ministry, which estimated some 50,000 demonstrators were participating in today’s protests.Some incidents occurred as a result of drivers not taking part trying to get around the blockades, police sources said.

Video: Its Macrons fault: parts of France in gridlock as thousands protest fuel tax hikes

Opposition parties and labour unions have voiced support for the demonstration but most have not joined, wary of being seen alongside officials from the National Rally and other far-right groups.

He added: “Were on maximum alert,” insisting police would ensure no roads were completely blocked in order to ensure peoples safety.

Woman killed by panicked driver as protesters block roads across France

The government announced last week a series of measures to quell the anger, including energy subsidies and higher scrappage bonuses towards cleaner vehicles.

France braces for travel turmoil as yellow vests take on Macron

And in a TV interview this week Macron admitted that he had “not succeeded in reconciling the French with their leaders” and “we have probably not given them enough consideration.”

The taxes are part of Mr Macrons strategy of weaning France off fossil fuels. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties and serving the rich.

Thousands of drivers blocked roads across France on Saturday in a "yellow vest" movement against high fuel prices which has mushroomed into a widespread protest against stagnant spending power under President Emmanuel Macron.

The protester was killed when a driver caught in traffic accelerated in a panic at Pont-de-Beauvoisin, near Chambery, said Louis Laugier, the top state official in the eastern Savoie region.

Video: Yellow vest protestors fed up with Macrons reforms

Around 50,000 people were taking part in more than 1,000 protests at roundabouts and motorway exits, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

"It's much bigger than we expected," said Yves Garrec, a private taxi operator at a roundabout in Toulouse, describing a "good-natured" atmosphere among the demonstrators.

The ministry said security forces used tear gas in several places to unblock major routes, notably at the access road to the Mont Blanc tunnel where about 30 canisters were fired.

Most protests were relatively calm despite the anger expressed by many in interviews and on social media in recent days over the surge in fuel prices this year, in particular for diesel.

Police officers lobbed tear gas canisters at demonstrators on the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris as groups of "yellow jackets," as the protesters called themselves, tried to make their way to the presidential Elysee Palace. Later, hundreds of protesters entered the bottom of the street dotted with luxury shops where the palace is located — and where Macron lives — before being pushed back by security forces with shields.

But one woman was killed when a mother trying to bring her daughter to the doctor panicked when protesters surrounded their car and began banging on the roof, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

One protester was killed and 227 other people were injured — eight seriously — at roadblocks set up around villages, towns and cities across France on Saturday as citizens angry with rising fuel taxes rose up in a grassroots movement, posing a new challenge to beleaguered President Emmanuel Macron.

One Dead, Dozens Hurt in France Fuel Tax Protest

The mother panicked and suddenly ploughed into the crowd in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, southeast France, hitting a woman in her 50s.

During his 18 months in power, Macron, 40, has often pushed through reforms, including an overhaul of indebted state rail operator SNCF, in the face of opposition from labour unions. But the “yellow vest” movement has snowballed swiftly over the past month, catching Macron and even opposition parties off guard. It has already prompted a rare concession from the government, which announced last Wednesday fresh funds to help motorists on the lowest incomes.

Castaner said a handful of other injuries had been reported in other areas, including a police officer in the southern city of Grasse outside Nice, by drivers trying to force a way through the blockades.

Demonstrators were also on the march in cities, including Marseille where around 100 people, wearing the high visibility vests drivers keep in their cars, blocked roads around its port. The backlash is the latest confrontation between Macron and voters, mostly based in the countryside and provincial towns and cities, who view the former investment banker as the representative of a remote urban elite.

"We're on maximum alert," he said, reiterating that police would ensure that no roads were completely blocked in order to ensure people's safety.

Sixteen people were lightly injured in other accidents across the country, and a person run over by a car in northern France was in a critical state, according to the interior ministry, which estimated some 50,000 demonstrators were participating in Saturday’s protests. Some incidents occurred as drivers not taking part tried to get around the blockades, police sources said.

Hi-vis protesters bring France to a standstill

In Paris, a group of some 50 protesters were yelling "Macron resign!" on the Champs Elysee, though police were stopping them from heading toward the nearby Elysee Palace, the president's residence.

The movement enjoys much broader support than other protests since Macron swept to power last year, with 73 percent of respondents backing the protests in an Elabe poll this week.

At a blockade on a road in the southeastern department of Savoie, a driver panicked when protesters surrounded her car and she accelerated, hitting and killing a woman demonstrator, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in televised comments.

Named for the high-visibility jackets worn by the protesters, the "yellow vests" say they are being squeezed by years of fuel tax increases that have driven prices to levels not seen since the early 2000s.

But analysts say the movement now represents more widespread frustration over stagnant spending power under Macron, a former investment banker who promised economic revival and to restore people's trust in government.

The protests also reflect longstanding anger among many in rural and small-town France who say the government in Paris doesn't understand the challenges facing the vast majority of the French.

"Macron is the president of the rich and not the poor. He needs to think about the poor as well," said Andre, a 38-year-old with no driver's license who nonetheless joined a blockade in Dole, eastern France.

Thousands march in France over diesel tax

Opposition parties and labour unions have voiced support for the demonstration but most have not joined, wary of being seen alongside officials from the National Rally and other far-right groups.

The government announced last week a series of measures to quell the anger, including energy subsidies and higher scrappage bonuses towards cleaner vehicles.

And in a TV interview this week Macron admitted that he had "not succeeded in reconciling the French with their leaders" and "we have probably not given them enough consideration."


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