Protester killed in accident during French road blockades

Elias Hubbard
November 17, 2018

She was hit in the eastern Savoie region by a driver who apparently accelerated in a panic while caught in the demonstration, according to a regional official.

It is believed the woman was killed by an accelerating auto, which was being blocked by drivers in the Savoie region, in demonstrations being seen as a new challenge to embattled President Emmanuel Macron. According to various French media reports, the protesters reportedly knocked on her auto as she tried to take her daughter to a hospital. An investigation was opened.

The protests also reflect longstanding anger among many in rural and small-town France who say the government in Paris doesn't understand the challenges facing the vast majority of the French. Officials said 24 people have been detained and 17 held for questioning.

An estimated 50,000 demonstrators were participating in the protests, and some incidents occurred as drivers not taking part tried to get around the blockades, police sources said.

The ministry said security forces used tear gas in several places to unblock major routes, notably at the access road to the Mont Blanc tunnel where about 30 canisters were fired. The government said it was prepared to send police to remove protesters and threatening fines.

The demonstrators, part of a grassroots movement dubbed the "yellow vests", caused logjams on highways and blocked roundabouts as they railed against the fuel tax hikes introduced by President Emmanuel Macron. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency seen as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.

The fluorescent vests must be kept in the vehicles of all French drivers in case of auto trouble.

Robert Tichit, 67, a retiree, referred to the president as "King Macron". And in a TV interview this week Macron admitted that he had "not succeeded in reconciling the French with their leaders" and "we have probably not given them enough consideration".

The backlash is the latest confrontation between Mr Macron and voters, mostly based in the countryside and provincial towns and cities, who view the former investment banker as the representative of a remote urban elite.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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