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    'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris

    France Protests Recap: 1 Dead, 200+ Injured Over Gas Price Hike (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

    © Sputnik / Julien Mattia
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    Over 280,000 people took to streets across France on Saturday in over 2,000 separate demonstrations across the country over government plans to introduce a new gas tax.

    A woman protester in her 50s was killed Saturday after being struck by a car in the southeastern French region of Savoie during protests over a new petrol tax, with five others sustaining serious injuries throughout the day after being hit by cars, and over 220 suffering less serious injuries, according to police.

    Police arrested at least 117 protesters during the course of the demonstrations, and deployed riot police and tear gas in some areas to disperse protesters.

    The protest movement, described as the 'yellow vests' movement on social media due to their distinctive high-visibility reflective vests of the kind often used by road workers, took over cities, towns, and rural areas across France, protesting fuel prices which have jumped 10-25 percent this year, as well as the new 3 eurocent per litre tax on gasoline which will take affect in January 2019.

    Sputnik France covered protests in and around Paris and in Nimes, southern France, with demonstrations beginning early Saturday morning along the capital's ring road.

    Protests continued into the afternoon in the center of the capital.

    Police appeared close to losing control around the Elysee Palace at one point, with protesters singing Le Marseillaise and shouting demands for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

    As evening approached, protesters moved on to the Arc de Triomphe, the National Assembly and other government buildings, with police deployed heavily in the city center and forming a perimeter to prevent demonstrators from moving any closer to Elysee Palace.

    As darkness fell, police used tear gas and moved to clear remaining protesters in and around the city center.

    In 2018, gas prices across France increased by between 10-15 percent, with the price of diesel jumping nearly 25 percent. 

    • A man holds a flare as demonstrators wearing yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices on November 17, 2018 in Haulchien near Valenciennes, northern France.
      A man holds a flare as demonstrators wearing yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices on November 17, 2018 in Haulchien near Valenciennes, northern France.
      © AFP 2018 / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI
    • 'Yellow vest' proteststers blocked Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris
      'Yellow vest' proteststers blocked Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris
      © Sputnik /
    • A demonstrators holds a flare during a demonstration of Yellow Vests (Gilets jaunes) against the rising of the fuel and oil prices on November 17, 2018 in Vendenheim, eastern France.
      A demonstrators holds a flare during a demonstration of Yellow Vests (Gilets jaunes) against the rising of the fuel and oil prices on November 17, 2018 in Vendenheim, eastern France.
      © AFP 2018 / Frederick FLORIN
    • 'Yellow vest' proteststers blocked Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris
      'Yellow vest' proteststers blocked Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris
      © Sputnik /
    • 'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      © Sputnik /
    • 'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      © Sputnik / Julien Mattia
    • 'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      © Sputnik /
    • 'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      'Yellow vest' protests against high fuel prices in Paris
      © Sputnik /
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    © AFP 2018 / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI
    A man holds a flare as demonstrators wearing yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices on November 17, 2018 in Haulchien near Valenciennes, northern France.

    Sputnik France was able to speak to multiple yellow vest protesters across Paris and Nimes, with people saying they were fed up and that they wanted the state to perk up and listen. At the same time, they emphasized the non-violent nature of their protest. "We are not here to hurt, we are here to show and to say that we are unhappy," one protester said.

    In addition to fuel prices, protesters said that other social issues, including the estate tax, low wages, and a perceived turn in an undemocratic direction by the current government, is what brought them into the streets. One woman from Nimes said Saturday's protest was the first time she ever participated in a public demonstration, and that she was just "fed up" with the current state of affairs.

    "In France, we elected a banker; this was was our biggest mistake, and we are paying the consequences," another protester from Nimes said.

    President Emmanuel Macron's government has faced sliding approval ratings in recent months due to a scandal involving his top security man, concerns over France's economic slowdown, and the unpopularity of government plans to cut social spending and raise taxes. In September, a poll by the Institute of Opinion and Marketing Studies found that just 31 percent of the French public approved of the president's performance over his one and a half years in office.

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