France

LATEST: Woman killed and at least 47 injured in France during anti-fuel tax road blockades

A road blocked by protestors in Souffelweyersheim, eastern France. Photo: AFP

A woman in her fifties was killed and 47 others injured including three in critical condition during demonstrations over high fuel prices in France on Saturday. Police have made at least 24 arrests.

The woman was killed when a mother trying to bring her daughter to the doctor panicked when protesters surrounded their car and began banging on the roof, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

The mother panicked and suddenly ploughed into the crowd in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, southeast France, hitting a woman in her fifties.

Castaner said a handful of other injuries had been reported in other areas, including a police officer in the southern city of Grasse outside Nice, by drivers trying to force a way through the blockades.

By around 1pm the number of injured had risen to 47 including three people who were fighting for their lives in hospital after being left in a critical condition.

"We're on maximum alert," he said, reiterating that police would ensure that no roads were completely blocked in order to ensure people's safety.

Most protests were relatively calm despite the anger expressed by many in interviews and on social media in recent days over the surge in fuel prices this year, in particular for diesel.

Police did say they had made 24 arrests with that number likely to mount.

The movement against high fuel prices which has mushroomed into a widespread protest against stagnant spending power under President Emmanuel Macron.

In Paris, a group of some 50 protesters were yelling "Macron resign!" on the Champs Elysee, though police were stopping them from heading toward the nearby Elysee Palace, the president's residence.

Around 124,000 people were taking part in more than 2,000 protests at roundabouts and motorway exits.

"It's much bigger than we expected," said Yves Garrec, a private taxi operator at a roundabout in Toulouse, describing a "good natured" atmosphere among the demonstrators.

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