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Demonstrations against fuel prices in France. Photo: Screen shot form The Guardians news clip video.
19 Nov 2018

400 injured in France during demonstrations against rising gasolin and diesel prices

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The demonstrations against  increased petrol prices all around France continue. Over the weekend, more than 400 people have been injured in the protests.

Saturday's major demonstrations, organized by the Yellow Wests´ Group, gathered nearly 290,000 people who participated in demonstrations in over 2,000 places. The demonstrators blocked traffic in roundabouts, on major highways and hindered access to cities.

The demonstrations,  continued far into the night. A total of 409 people were injured, 14 of whom were serious injuries. Among the injured were 28 of police officers, military police and firefighters, according to France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

On Sunday, new protest actions were organized. Some of them became violent, for example, the police used tear gas against about a thousand protesters near the city of Caen.

High petrol prices

The reasons fo rthe protests are dissatisfaction with high diesel and gasoline prices. Increased and adjusted taxes, as well as high costs of crude oil, caused the price of diesel to rise to record levels at close to €1,70 per liter in October. It is still lower than in the most expensive countries like Sweden, but diesel in France has historically been cheaper.

Many French people find that low-income people and people living in the countryside are affected by the increased prices. The movement has also grown into a general protest against President Emmanuel Macron.

157 arrests

In connection with Saturday's demonstrations and blockades, much agitation arose, and some demonstrators got violent in several locations. The police detained 157 people.

"The night was difficult. There were fistfights and knife cuts", Christophe Castaner told the RTL radio channel.

"There were also fights among yellow vests protesters. In some places there was a lot of alcohol, which led to this idiotic behavior".

Saturday's protests started out tragically when a 60-year-old demonstrator died when she was hit by a car in the Savoy region of southeastern France.

Background: Petrol prices in France

Behind the dissatisfaction in France is an increase in the price of gasoline and diesel.

The reason is partly that the price of crude oil  has been rising on the international market in October. On the other hand, the French government has also adjusted the taxes on petrol and diesel, which also made it more expensive.

In addition, a further increase in diesel tax by 6.5 cents per liter in early 2019 is planned. The increased diesel tax is intended to encourage car owners to switch to more environmentally friendly cars.

But the dissatisfaction and protests of the Yellow West have had large impact. On Wednesday, the government stated that additional money would be allocated to help low income car owners.

France has the goal of stopping sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2040.

Sources: Reuters, Euronews


Photo (Above) Demonstrations against fuel prices in France. Photo: Screen shot form The Guardians news clip video.