More than 0.3 million (3, 00,000) people took to the streets across France to protest the increase in energy prices. Nearly 2,000 protests took place across France in different cities and towns. The protestors claimed the number more than half million (0.5). But police put the figures around 2, 82,710. The police so far have arrested more than 100 protestors.
The French president Macron who swept to power with massive support last year tasted the first mass protests against his policies. Macron came into power with high expectations that he will solve the economic problems. But in last few months, resentment has increased against his economic policies.
At least one person has died and 249 others have been injured as protestors clashed with police around presidential palace in Paris. Hundreds of thousands people protested against soaring fuel prices throughout France. Police used tear gas to stop demonstrators at the Champs-Elysees.
Starting from the early hours of Saturday, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of French cities to express their discontent with the policies of President Emmanuel Macron and the French government’s recent decision to raise fuel prices through additional taxes.
The massive protests were provoked by the government’s plans to continue increasing taxes on diesel and gasoline, as well as the carbon tax meant to limit greenhouse gas emissions. French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said the tax on diesel will increase by 6.5 cents per liter in January 2019, while the tax on gasoline is set to increase by 2.9 cents.
The people are angry because the government of president Macron is trying to shift the burden of economic crisis on to the ordinary people. For many people in France, Macron government is not defending their interests and continues to burden them with new taxes and price hikes.
One protestor summed up the mood of the protestors in these words. “Gasoline prices never stop rising. It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Macron and his buddies just let… things go from bad to worse.”
Police tried to keep the protestors away from presidential palace and cordon off many nearby roads. But protestors thronged in big numbers to the streets near presidential palace. Later in the day, nearly 2,000 protesters managed to cut their way through police cordons to the French President’s Palace chanting “Macron, resign!” Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Protesters blocked roads across France, disrupting traffic in many areas as well as blocking access to gas stations. Most of them are wearing yellow vests – the symbol of a popular movement and umbrella organization behind the protests.
Many roads have been closed due to the protesters’ blockades. In many places, the roadblocks have led to severe traffic jams. The French media declared the protests as unprecedented in recent history.
Police deployed large forces to the areas where protests were held, but still apparently failed to bring the situation fully under control as, according to the Interior Ministry, 227 people were injured during the protests, with six in critical condition.
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