One killed and 47 injured in France fuel tax protests

One protester was killed and 47 others were injured during roadblocks set up around France to demonstrate against rising fuel taxes, a new challenge to embattled President Emmanuel Macron.

Photos and videos posted on social media show large crowds of people wearing yellow vests - the symbol of a popular movement and umbrella organization behind the protests - overrunning the roads and highways in various regions.

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

Castaner told RTL radio about 288,000 people had taken part in Saturday´s protests at 2,034 locations countrywide.

In the worst incident, a female protester died after a driver surrounded by demonstrators panicked and accelerated. "We were the first party to express our total support for this movement", said nationalist leader Marine Le Pen in an interview November 13 with Le Parisien. An investigation was opened.

By early evening, 73 people had been taken into custody, and some demonstrators were still in place at nightfall. Officials said 24 people have been detained and 17 held for questioning.

Protesters pledge to target tollbooths, roundabouts and the bypass that rings Paris on Saturday. She accidentally struck and killed a woman in her 60s, the interior ministry said.

"This government hasn't understood the anger of the French", Socialist Party secretary general Olivier Faure said in a statement Wednesday.

The nationwide protest was unusual due to its grassroots origins. It was unclear whether the upstart movement, without a leader, would survive, and what problems it might pose for Macron. Other issues, like buying power, melted into the main demand as the demonstrations unfolded. 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.

The fuel taxes are part of Macron's strategy of weaning France off fossil fuels. A "carbon trajectory" calls for continued increases.

She said the price of diesel, for example, had risen 23% in the past 12 months. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency that is disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.

Macron's popularity has plunged, hovering around 30 per cent.

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

"We've had enough of it".

"There are many young people among us because we can't make ends meet anymore", said Emilie, a 27-year old temporary sales manager in Cavaillon in the south of the country.

In Paris, protesters holding "Macron resign!" signs and singing the national anthem partially blocked the Champs Elysees in the heart of the French capital.

  • Rogelio Becker