French drivers blocking roads to protest rising fuel taxes

Petrol station

Taxes Fuel Protests in France Drivers to Block Roads AFP 2018 JEFF PACHOUD

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. An investigation into how the protester died is underway, say French officials.

Police said three of the 47 injured in separate incidents are in a serious condition.

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.

The protests also reflect longstanding anger among many in rural and small-town France who say the government in Paris doesn't understand the challenges facing the vast majority of the French.

Sixteen people were lightly injured in other accidents across the country, including a person run over by a vehicle in the north who was left in a critical state, and a policeman in the southern town of Grasse hit by a driver trying to force his way through a blockade.

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Protesters pledged to target tollbooths, roundabouts and the Paris orbital bypass on Saturday.

The government sent in police to monitor tens of thousands of gathering points, some not declared in advance and therefore illegal.

The "Yellow Jackets" are upset over rising fuel prices as well as petrol taxes: for the year in France, the price of petrol has increased by 10-15%, and the price of the most popular diesel fuel in the country rose 24%.

The fluorescent yellow vests donned by the protesters must be kept in the vehicles of all French drivers in case of auto troubles.

Wearing the safety hazard jackets drivers are mandated by law to carry in their auto, "Yellow Vests" are protesting the 23 per cent rise in diesel to €1.51 (£1.32/$1.71) per litre - the increase coming in a span of just 12 months and at its highest point since the early 2000s.

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