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France rocked by protests against Macron’s fuel tax hike

France was rocked by protests this weekend when hundreds of thousands of "little people" took to streets to confront a very unpopular president.

Published: November 18, 2018, 8:28 am

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    The “yellow vests”, or protesters wearing high-visibility yellow jackets they are required by law to carry in their cars, blocked routes throughout France in a backlash against President Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax hikes.

    One protester has died while hundreds more were injured. According to Le Parisien, at least 227 people were injured. The female protester who died was struck after a truck driver panicked and accelerated because he was surrounded by demonstrators.

    Macron has ignored the protests, but it poses a huge challenge for him. Of the 2 034 rallies across France, most of them were spontaneously held without prior police permission.

    The police said 12 officers were wounded including one in a serious condition. A total of 113 people were placed in police custody, including for violence, rebellion or projectile throwing.

    Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior has called for calm, saying that “the freedom to demonstrate” should not inhibit the “right to circulate”, also calling for “respect for law enforcement agencies”.

    In addition to the deadly tragedy of Pont-de-Beauvoisin (Savoie), clashes broke out between protesters and the police in Paris. While the Champs-Elysees was partially blocked, several hundred yellow vests converged on the Elysee Palace to directly confront Macron.

    They were stopped not far from the presidential palace by the mobile gendarmes who used tear gas grenades.

    “At no time, the protesters were able to reach the Elysee,” a senior officer said. However, the situation remains tense around the Rue Saint-Honoré, where the police are currently massed. A military police CRS company has been called in as reinforcement.

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