Minister: More Than 400 Hurt in French Fuel Price Protests

More than 400 people were hurt, 14 seriously, in a day and night of “yellow vest” fuel price protests around France that claimed one life, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Sunday.

The injury toll, more than double the last tally provided on Saturday, followed a “restive” night in 87 locations around the country where protesters had blocked roads to express their anger at a series of hikes in petrol tax.

The injured, 409 in total, included 28 members of the police, military police, and fire brigade.

Castaner told RTL radio about 288,000 people had taken part in Saturday’s protests at 2,034 locations countrywide. About 3,500 stayed out overnight, he added.

Police questioned 282 protesters in total, 73 during the night, of which 157 were taken into custody.

“Last night was restive… There were assaults, fights, stabbings,” Castaner said. “There were fights among ‘yellow vest’ protesters. There was a lot of alcohol at certain venues, which led to this idiotic behavior.”

Protest organizers have called for the continuation of demonstrations Sunday at about 150 locations countrywide, the minister added.

On Saturday, groups blocked roundabouts, major highways and thoroughfares to express anger over tax rises on fuel, arguing it has shrunk personal spending power under President Emmanuel Macron.

Tempers flared at times as some drivers confronted the protesters or tried to force their way through the barricades.

In the eastern Savoie region, a woman trying to get her daughter to a doctor panicked after protesters surrounded their car and banged on the roof, accelerating into the crowd and killing a 63-year-old woman.

The protesters are nicknamed “yellow vests” for the high-visibility jackets they wear.

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