1m Protester killed during French fuel demonstration


Almost 300,000 protesters paralyzed traffic at more than 2,000 strategic sites around France on Saturday in a bid to force the government to lower taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline.

Protestors chanted "Macron, resign" and some sported slogans such as "give us back our purchasing power" on the back of the yellow high-visibility vests, which have come to symbolise the movement.

By evening, 1200 protesters remained in the Place "protected by police", the Interior Ministry said.

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.

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.

In the worst incident, a female protester died after a driver surrounded by demonstrators panicked and accelerated.

"The course we set is good and we will keep it", Philippe said during an interview on TV station France-2, "It's not when the wind blows that you change course". An investigation was opened.

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.

Police questioned almost 300 protesters, and took about half of them into custody.

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A total of 117 people were arrested with 73 of them held for questioning.

They targeted tollbooths, roundabouts and the bypass that rings Paris on Saturday. The young woman appeared later on BFMTV still wearing her yellow vest.

The nationwide protest was unusual in its grassroots origins. It was unclear whether the upstart movement, without a leader, would survive, and what problems it might pose for Macron.

Opposition parties and labour unions have voiced support for the demonstration but most have not joined, wary of being seen alongside officials from the National Rally and other far-right groups. Security officials treaded lightly, ordering police to use dialogue rather than force but to stop protesters from completely blocking major routes or endangering lives or property.

"This is what we were anxious about by having unorganised demonstrations by people who aren't necessarily used to such things", Castaner said earlier.

Diesel prices have surged 23% over the previous year and it's President Macron who's taking the blame. Those French who have a hard time making ends meet often rely on cheaper diesel fuel.

The tax increases are part of an effort to move away from a reliance on fossil fuel-powered vehicles. A "carbon trajectory" calls for continued increases.

Anger over the high fuel prices has resulted in Macron's popularity taking a hit over the recent months - from 39 percent in July to 21 percent in October.