4 Died and More Than 133 Injured in France Fuel Riots – Who Are ‘Yellow Vest’ Protesters and What Do They Want (See Pictures of Damaged Paris)

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The country is currently in the grip of widespread protests and riots that have led to violent clashes with police, leaving hundreds injured and thousands of dollars’ worth of property damaged.

Nexter.org reports about what’s going on in Paris.

What caused the wave of protests in ?

france-yellow-vests-protests-photo

Source: AFP/Getty Images

As part of the environmental policy strategy, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a green tax on fuel last month to go into effect Jan. 1. The tax will increase the price of fuel by about 30 cents per gallon and will continue to rise over the next few years, the French government says.

The move set off nearly a month of protests around . The French Interior Ministry estimates 136,000 protesters turned out across the country over the weekend, in addition to 280,000 in previous weeks.

france-yellow-vests-protests-photo

Source: AFP

The protests started in the French provinces but spread to Paris, where demonstrations turned into riots over the weekend and scenes of violent civil unrest played out along the city’s famous Avenue des Champs Élysées.

Source: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

Nationwide protests continue to spread across , with students blockading about 100 schools. ’s Interior Ministry said it had to deploy 37,000 police officers, 30,000 firefighters, and 30,000 gendarmes, members of the ministry’s armed forces, to contend with the protest.

Source: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images

Are there any victims?

Four people have now died since the protests began three weeks ago. Three were killed in separate traffic accidents caused by roadblocks set up by yellow vests, and an 80-year-old woman in Marseille died from injuries she received when a tear gas grenade hit her in the face as she closed her apartment windows to protests below.

Around 133 people were injured — including law enforcement officials — and about 412 were arrested.

france-yellow-vests-protests-photo

Who are the protesters and why they are called “yellow vests” or “yellow jackets”?

“Yellow vests” are so called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.

Originally, the yellow vest protesters were people from rural areas who have to drive long distances as part of their daily life. They said they couldn’t afford the hike in fuel prices.

The movement has no official leadership and was organized initially through social media groups.

france-yellow-vests-protests-photo

What do the protesters want?

Their initial demand was to repeal the green tax on diesel. Now, others want the current minimum wage (about $1,350 per month after taxes) to be raised. There have also been calls to dissolve the National Assembly and hold new elections. There have even been chants of “Macron resign!”

The economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, said the solution for tackling the low purchasing power of struggling families lay in reducing the tax burden in , which is among the highest in Europe.

france-yellow-vests-protests-photo

How did the peaceful protest turn to be a violent riot? 

Violent protests erupted over the weekend in Paris, where rioters defaced the Arc de Triomphe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, looted shops, vandalized buildings and even attacked police. French authorities note that most of the violence and vandalism were incited by anarchists known as “casseurs” — rioters, thugs from the ultraleft and ultraright.

france-yellow-vests-protests-photo

Source: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Yellow jackets also blocked access to 11 fuel depots for the French energy company Total, resulting in 75 of the company’s 2,200 gas stations going dry.

Paris police held 380 people in custody after Saturday’s riots. The city estimates total damages at $3.4 million.


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France Fuel Riot Turns Violent: Who Are 'Yellow Vest' Protesters and What Do They Want (See Devastating Pictures of Damaged Paris)
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Fuel Riot Turns Violent: Who Are 'Yellow Vest' Protesters and What Do They Want (See Devastating Pictures of Damaged Paris)
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The country is currently in the grip of widespread protests and riots that have led to violent clashes with police, leaving hundreds injured and thousands of dollars’ worth of property damaged. Nexter.org reports about what's going on in Paris.
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