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1 dead, dozens injured in French fuel taxes protests

17 November 2018

Demonstrators block the traffic on the highway A47 between Lyon and Saint-Etienne on November 17, 2018, as part of a nationwide popular initiated day of protest called "yellow vest" (Gilets Jaunes in French) movement to protest against high fuel prices which has mushroomed into a widespread protest against stagnant spending power under French President.

At Pont-de-Beauvoisin, in southeast France, a woman trying to get her daughter to the doctor panicked when protesters surrounded her auto and started banging on the roof.

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

The French authorities have not given a breakdown about how they were injured, but said three are in a serious condition in hospital.

Al Jazeera's Neave Barker, reporting from Paris, said violent clashes broke out between the police and protest, during which the security forces used tear gas and arrested at least 24 people.

The Interior Ministry said that around 125,000 protesters were involved in about 2,000 demonstrations around France.

In Paris, a group of some 50 protesters were yelling "Macron resign!" on the Champs Elysee, though police were stopping them from heading toward the nearby Elysee Palace, the president's residence.

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

The taxes are part of Macron's strategy of weaning France off fossil fuels.

Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency seen as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.

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

Robert Tichit, 67, a retiree, referred to the president as "King Macron".

The backlash is the latest confrontation between Mr Macron and voters, mostly based in the countryside and provincial towns and cities, who view the former investment banker as the representative of a remote urban elite.

1 dead, dozens injured in French fuel taxes protests