One protestor was killed and more than 400 people were injured on Saturday in a nationwide movement known as ‘yellow vest’ against the increasing fuel prices in France, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.
Tens of thousands of people across France, including vexed motorists, protested against high fuel prices, in mass rallies that turned into violence, killing one protestor accidently by a car, an official said.
“At Pont-de-Beauvoisin, in southeast France, a woman trying to get her daughter to the doctor panicked when protesters surrounded her car and started banging on the roof. She accidentally struck and killed a woman in her 60s,” the minister said.
According to official report, 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.
Out of the total 409 injured, 28 were of the police and fire brigade personnel who were on duty during the time of violence erupted, the interior ministry said.
An estimated 288,000 people had taken part in Saturday’s protests at 2,034 locations countrywide, Castaner said, adding about 3,500 stayed out overnight.
“Last night was restive... There were assaults, fights, stabbings,” said Castaner.
“There were fights among ‘yellow vest’ protesters. There was a lot of alcohol at certain venues, which led to this idiotic behaviour,” the minister said.
“Police questioned 282 protesters in total, 73 during the night, of which 157 were taken into custody,” Castaner said.
The movement ‘yellow vest’, named for the high-visibility jackets worn by protestors, appeared last month on social media with calls for nationwide blockade over increasing fuel prices, sources said.
Protestors blame a 20 per cent hike in fuel prices has shrunk personal spending power under President Emmanuel Macron, it said.
(With inputs from agencies)