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Police, Protesters In Street Fight Over Fuel Price Hike


Police and protesters have clashed in Paris ahead of a third weekend of mass “yellow vest” demonstrations sparked by rising fuel prices.

Police fired tear gas while several officers had yellow paint thrown at them. At least 16 people were arrested.

Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in protest at fuel costs and the high cost of living.

President Macron struck a conciliatory tone earlier in the week but said he would not abandon his fuel tax.

France police, activists clash during protest

He said it was a key part of France’s future energy strategy to combat global warming, but added that he was open to ideas about how the tax could be applied.

But his speech does not appear to have gone far enough in assuaging people of the view that he is out of touch with ordinary people.

Saturday’s clashes began even before the official demonstration started in central Paris, as police locked down the popular tourist avenue of Champs Elysees and searched people as they were going in.

Several shops, banks and cafes had boarded up their windows in anticipation of the protest.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters – some wearing face masks – who were trying to tear down the barricades. A number of police officers, wearing protective gear and helmets, were spattered with vivid yellow paint.

The gilets jaunes (yellow vest) rallies were originally about fuel tax increases. Protesters donned the yellow vest required to be carried in every vehicle by law and blocked roads, causing widespread traffic jams.

But the protests have now spread to encompass rising anger at high taxes and living costs, and span the entire political spectrum – even the far right, which the government blamed for violence in Paris during the first demonstration on 17 November.

Most demonstrators have remained peaceful. But one person died during the protests when they were struck by a panicked driver.

A few days later, a motorcyclist was also killed when they were hit by a van making a sudden turn in the traffic chaos. [BBC]

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