Published: Sun, November 18, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

French Protests Against Gas Tax Lead to One Dead, 50 Wounded

French Protests Against Gas Tax Lead to One Dead, 50 Wounded

Police officers lobbed tear gas canisters at demonstrators on the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris as groups tried to make their way to the presidential Elysee Palace.

More than 120,000 people gathered on Saturday at 2,000 locations, blocking roundabouts and motorway exits as part of what has been dubbed the "yellow vests" protest.

Injuries were reported in other areas as some drivers confronted protesters or tried to force their way through blockades.

Police used tear gas to disperse protesters on the Champs-Elysees, RT France said.

More news: New Zealand wins 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup bid

The fluorescent vests must be kept in the vehicles of all French drivers in case of auto trouble.

The nationwide protest was unusual because it arose from within the citizenry, backed neither by unions nor politicians, although some took part in a clear bid for supporters.

Demonstrators wearing yellow vests (Gilets Jaunes) protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices on November 17, 2018 in front Carrefour Market in Givors, East-central France - French drivers seething over high fuel prices have vowed to snarl traffic across the country on November 17 in a widely supported protest that could prove the trickiest so far for French President. Hundreds of protesters took over the Place de la Concorde at the bottom of the avenue, shouting "Macron resign" as police looked on.

One protester, Esteban, told Sky News the cost of fuel was so high that he was considering a second job to help pay for his transport to school and work. Diesel vehicle owners, still a majority in France, feel betrayed after decades of the state encouraging diesel engines.

More news: Prince Charles is turning 70! This is how he's celebrating

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.

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.

While Macron, whose popularity is hovering around a dismal 30 per cent, said he regretted that he was not able to reconcile his government with the people, he has refused to back down, saying, "We have to tax fossil fuels more in order to fund our investments in renewables". "What's certain is that I won't vote for him again", he said.

The tax hike is so widely unpopular, that even 54 per cent of those who voted for Macron support the movement, with 73 per cent of Frenchmen of all political persuasions supporting the Yellow Vests.

More news: Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel forced out of White House

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.

Like this: