1 dead, dozens injured in French fuel taxes protests


France was expecting a country-wide wave of protests Saturday. In Quimper, in Brittany, security forces used water cannon to disperse hostile protesters.

The situation on the Champs-Elysees, for instance, was confusing, with the protest producing a party atmosphere at some points and angry confrontations at others.

An investigation into the death was opened.

According to French media reports, the protesters knocked on the woman's vehicle as she tried to take her daughter to hospital Saturday local time.

Among those injured were a police officer in the Mediterranean city of Grasse, one in eastern Strasbourg and two in northwestern Quimper.

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.

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. The young woman appeared later on BFMTV still wearing her yellow vest.

"We're on maximum alert", said Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, reiterating that police would ensure that no roads were completely blocked in order to ensure people's safety. "It is heard. The government is attentive to all demonstrations and, of course, we must continue to answer the expectations of the French including those about their purchasing power".

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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.

Ecology minister Francois de Rugy confirmed the government's commitment to the policy Sunday, telling Le Parisien that France needed to get itself out of the "trap" of fossil fuel reliance. A "carbon trajectory" calls for continued increases. The tax on gasoline is to increase 4 euro cents.

Many drivers see it as emblematic of a presidency they view as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties and serving the rich.

According to an opinion poll last week, 73 percent of respondents backed the "yellow vests" movement, a much higher figure than in other protests since Macron was elected on a reformist platform past year.

In what is possibly the largest coordinated protest against President Emmanuel Macron's reforms since he took office 18 months ago, media reports that between 1,000 and 2,000 rallies have been organised across the country on Saturday with between 50,000 to 120,000 people in attendance.

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

"There are just too many taxes in France", said Veronique Lestrade, a demonstrator on the outskirts of Paris, who said her family was struggling to make ends meet.

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