Published: Sun, November 18, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

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

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

The protesters have dubbed themselves the "yellow jackets" because they wear fluorescent vests that all French drivers must keep in their vehicles in case of auto troubles.

At a blockade in the southeastern department of Savoie, a driver panicked when protesters surrounded her auto and she accelerated, hitting and killing a protester, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said. In Troyes, southeast of Paris, about 100 people invaded the prefecture, the local representation of the state, damaging the inside, Interior Ministry officials said.

The protesters have dubbed themselves the "yellow jackets" because they wear fluorescent vests that all French drivers must keep in their vehicles in case of auto troubles.

Almost 283,000 people were estimated to have taken part in more than 2,000 protests at roundabouts and on major highways and thoroughfares across the country, with 227 people injured - seven seriously - and 52 detained, the Interior Ministry said.

According to various French media reports, people knocked on the woman's auto as she tried to take her daughter to a hospital.

The situation on the Champs-Elysees, for instance, was confusing, with the protest producing a party atmosphere at some points and angry confrontations at others.

In televised comments, Castener said around 50,000 people were taking part in the backlash against President Emmanuel Macron's fuel tax hikes, adding that police would take action to ensure no roads were completely blocked.

But up to 200 people were later seen walking down the street, apparently heading towards the Elysee presidential palace.

The protesters have dubbed themselves the "yellow jackets" because they wear fluorescent vests that all French drivers must keep in their vehicles in case of auto troubles.

The accident took place in the town of Pont-de-Beauvoisin, to the north of the city of Grenoble in south-eastern France, according to the minister.

They are angry at higher fuel taxes introduced by President Emmanuel Macron.

With nearly 80 per cent of the public backing the "yellow vest" protests, the president held a crisis meeting to find ways of softening the impact on the poor and came up with a raft of sweeteners worth around €500 million.

The rise in fuel taxes is part of Macron's strategy to wean France off fossil fuels.

Robert Tichit, 67, a retiree, referred to the president as "King Macron".

"We've had enough of it".

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.

In a similar scenario, police cleared out the huge traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe, paralyzed for hours by protesters.

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