'Yellow vest' protests against Emmanuel Macron snarl traffic across France

Monday, 19 Nov, 2018

The taxes they are angry about are part of President Emmanuel Macron's strategy to move France away from fossil fuels.

Three people were seriously injured and 44 others were slightly injured, ministry officials said.

Protesters bloc the traffic on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

Police say 47 people have been injured across France as demonstrators hit the streets in protest at gas price increases.

"This is what we were anxious about. unorganised demonstrations by people who aren't necessarily used to such things", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a statement.

French retail group Auchan reported violent incidents at around 20 shopping centres where it operates hypermarkets.

He specified that 28 police officers, gendarmes and firefighting units officers had suffered injuries.

An estimated 244,000 people took part in more than 2,000 protests at roundabouts and on major highways and thoroughfares, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a statement. About 3,500 stayed out overnight, he added.

Police questioned 282 protesters in total, 73 during the night, of whom 157 were taken into custody.

Demonstrators wearing yellow vests block the traffic during a protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices
Image Drivers in France blocked roads to protest against rising fuel taxes

The situation throughout the night was "agitated", Castaner said, with "aggressions, fights, knife-slashing" taking place, including among the protesters. "There was a lot of alcohol at certain venues, which led to this idiotic behaviour".

Leticia Leclercq, unemployed mother of two, holds a banner reading "Stop privileges, lower the taxes" during a demonstration of Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) against the rising of the fuel and oil prices on November 17, 2018, in Le Boulou near the border with Spain.

Philippe said more explaining is needed "and we will do that", while adhering to the plan.

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

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

On Saturday a female protester was accidentally killed when a woman driver caught up in the blockade accelerated in panic and crashed into the crowd.

In several spots across the country protesters vowed to carry on their action on Monday and beyond.

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.

"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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