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France's 'yellow vest' protest enters third day as fuel depots are blocked

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France's 'yellow vest' protest enters third day as fuel depots are blocked
Photo: AFP
17:17 CET+01:00
The "yellow vest" fuel tax protests around France continued into a third day on Monday with road blocks set up at petrol refineries and at strategic points on roads and motorways across the country. Read on for all the latest.

LATEST on Monday

CLICK HERE for the latest on the road blocks on Wednesday

  • 'Yellow vest' protests enter their third day with around 358 operations 
  • Calls to 'block Paris' on Saturday
  • Road blocks marred by racist and homophobic violence
  • Fuel depots and refineries are blocked
  • Exit and entry points to motorways also blocked
  • British motorist and Australian truck driver arrested near Calais after driving through protesters
  • Young protesters in serious condition after being hit by lorry
  • French PM vows not to cave in to protests

Road blocks were put up across France for a third day on Monday despite the "yellow vest" movement being on a much smaller scale than was seen on Saturday.

In total, 150 protests were ongoing on morning Monday, with Benjamin Cauchy, the organizer of the movement in Toulouse, explaining their new strategy in an interview with radio station RMC. 
 
"We now want to block refineries and industrial deposits to have an economic impact. [...] Edouard Philippe heard us with one ear but did not listen to us," he said. 
 
Early Monday, dozens of barricades were still being manned on motorways and roundabouts, far fewer than the more than 2,000 sites on Saturday.
 
Around 200 trucks were backed up along a road leading to a fuel depot in the western city of Rennes, where some protesters had camped out overnight, an AFP reporter said.
 
Others continued to camp out in supermarket parking lots.
 
The fact the protesters are willing to continue their action into a third day will concern the French government, whose Prime Minister Edouard Philippe vowed on Sunday to stick to their plan to raise fuel taxes in January.

"The movement is not exceptional... and obviously isn't as big as on Saturday," Laurent Nunez, junior interior minister, told CNews, adding that police would continue to intervene to ensure major roads are not blocked.

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(Photo: AFP)

On Monday protesters, whose anger over rising fuel prices has been directed at President Emmanuel Macron, blocked several fuel depots around the country including one in Pallice near La Rochelle, Fos-sur-Mer near Marseille and Lespinasse near Toulouse.

At another fuel depot block in Vern-sur-Seiche near Rennes, dozens of "yellow vests" caused a traffic jam of 200 trucks (see tweet below).

There were also spontaneous road blocks and go-slows set up a roundabouts and motorway exit points across the country.

 

There was also a call on Monday by a member of the rightwing Debout La France (Stand Up France) party for protesters to descend on Paris on Saturday and "block" the city which has been viewed over 165,000 times on Facebook.

Another Facebook page calling for a mass rally on Saturday in Paris "because there is where the government is!!!" had also garnered widespread interest.Late on Sunday night a young protester was left in a serious condition after being hit by a lorry at a road block in Saint-Dizier in the Haute-Marne department.

Meanwhile there was another serious incident Sunday night in the town of Livron in the Drôme department in southeastern France when a drunk driver fired gun shots in the air. He was evacuated by the gendarmes and his vehicle was burned by the 'yellow vests' (see below).

The latest reports at around 8am on Monday suggested the A7 was blocked in both directions near Avignon, blockades were also in place on the A51 near Sisteron.

Access to Nimes in the south east was "complicated" and there were at least three road blocks set up around Bordeaux.

In Bordeaux the Pont d'Aquitaine had been closed to traffic however the police moved in at around 12.30pm to clear the area in the direction of Paris and a road block was in place on Pont François-Mitterand.

There were also operations in place near Nantes, Rennes, Calais, Caen and Mans. The situation may change rapidly with the government insisting police will be sent in to move the protesters on and open up the roads to traffic.

This map below shows the locations of the latest blockades on Monday according to the site blocage17november.com. Use the zoom function to see if there are any roadblocks in your area.

This map below from Vinci autoroutes also shows the problems on part of France's motorway network on Monday morning. You can CLICK HERE for an interactive version.

Autoroute INFO which advises drivers on France's motorways warned on Monday morning that there were still protesters at tolls and motorway entrance points across the country. 

It advised drivers to remain calm and not to turn around and drive in the opposite direction of traffic in order to avoid a blockade.

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

The injury toll followed what Castaner described as 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 police, paramilitary police or firefighters.

On Sunday night French police arrested a British motorists and an Australian truck driver near Calais after they knocked protesters over driving through a blockade near Calais.

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

Some 46 people continued to protest on Sunday at around 150 points across France.

The grassroots movement emerged on social media last month over a surge in fuel prices this year, in particular for diesel, which many blame on taxes implemented in recent years as part of France's anti-pollution fight.

It quickly snowballed into a broader protest over stagnant spending power under President Emmanuel Macron.

"I earn 500 euros ($570) a month -- how do you expect me to live on that? 

With what I earn I can only allow myself one meal a day," said Jean-Luc, a 57-year-old protesting in Calais.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Sunday night that the government had heard the anger, but that it would maintain the fuel taxes, which are set to increase again in January.

Last week the government unveiled a 500 million euro package of measures to help low-income households, including energy subsidies and higher scrappage bonuses for the purchase of cleaner vehicles.

 

 

 

 

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Neurolink - 19 Nov 2018 18:04
Intimidating road users going about their legitimate business is not the way to make a point and I hope they all get arrested.
If I went and blocked their driveway, Plod would be there in an instant.
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