Blockade Chaos: French Protest Rising Fuel Prices in Paris

Petrol station

An investigation was underway in the death of a protester in the eastern Savoie region, hit by a driver who apparently accelerated in a panic while caught in the demonstration, according to a regional official.

According to French media reports, the protesters reportedly knocked on her auto as she tried to take her daughter to hospital.

A protester has been killed and 47 others injured during roadblocks set up around France to demonstrate against rising fuel taxes, in a new challenge to embattled President Emmanuel Macron. Officials said that 24 people have been detained and 17 held for questioning.

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

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One of the reasons for the increase in fuel prices is the introduction of an environmental tax on greenhouse gas emissions announced by the authorities.

The government sent in police to monitor tens of thousands of gathering points, some non-declared in advance and therefore illegal.

The protesters call themselves the "yellow jackets" after the fluorescent vests all French drivers are mandated to keep in their vehicles in case of a roadside breakdown. In the northern town of Hazebrouck, a lorry driver mounted a pavement and injured two protesters. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency they view as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties and serving the rich.

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. 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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