France fuel protest: Hundreds injured as protests continue

France fuel protest: Hundreds injured as protests continue

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

The stirrings of the "yellow vest" campaign behind Saturday's protests began this summer, with online petitions urging Macron to reconsider.

Police used tear gas to stop demonstrators on the Champs-Elysees.

Although most of the blockades were carried out without incident, tempers flared at times as some drivers confronted the protesters or tried to force their way through.

The "yellow vests" movement, named for the high-visibility jackets worn by supporters, erupted on social media last month with calls for blockades of roads and highways.

The French government will not reverse its decision to raise the tax on diesel and carbon fuels, despite massive protests across the country last weekend, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.

Protesters say he is neglecting the lower and middle classes, pointing to tax cuts for high earners and companies.

At least 227 people were injured across France, including six seriously, according to the interior ministry, which estimated that almost 283,000 demonstrators took part in Saturday's protests.

Around 46,000 people took part across France in a second day of protests, police said, compared to Saturday when close to 300,000 people participated, although there were again clashes with police - and sometimes motorists.

"It's a very powerful message sent from the depths of France", he said on BFMTV.

At a blockade on a road in the south-eastern department of Savoie, a driver panicked when protesters surrounded her vehicle and she accelerated, hitting and killing a female demonstrator, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in televised comments.

Police questioned 282 protesters in total, 73 during the night, of which 157 were taken into custody. A police officer and a firefighter who intervened when protesters attacked a closed service station were among the eight.

She accelerated into the crowd and killed a 63-year-old woman.

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

The protesters' chief complaint: the rising cost of diesel fuel.

Prices have eased this month, although protestors on Saturday had other complaints too, as Macron's next test at the ballot box in European parliamentary elections in May 2019 looms.

Many drivers see this as emblematic of a presidency they view as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties and serving the rich.

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