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One killed and dozens injured in French fuel tax protests

One killed and dozens injured in French fuel tax protests

The protests also reflect longstanding anger among many in rural and small-town France who say the government in Paris doesn't understand the challenges facing the vast majority of the French.

The protester was killed when a driver caught in traffic accelerated in a panic at Pont-de-Beauvoisin, near Chambery, said Louis Laugier, the top state official in the eastern Savoie region.

The BBC reports that the woman was desperate to get her daughter to the hospital and was sent into a panic as protesters surrounded her vehicle and began hitting her roof. Officials said that 24 people have been detained and 17 held for questioning.

The demonstrators are trying to block motorways as well as access to fuel depots in a grassroots movement dubbed the "yellow vests" that began as a backlash against the higher fuel taxes introduced by President Emmanuel Macron.

An estimated 50,000 demonstrators were participating in the protests, and some incidents occurred as drivers not taking part tried to get around the blockades, police sources said.

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They targeted tollbooths, roundabouts and the bypass that rings Paris on Saturday.

One of the reasons for the increase in fuel prices is the introduction of an environmental tax on greenhouse gas emissions announced by the authorities. However, protesters and their supporters have voiced anger about other issues, too, including diminishing buying power. The government is preparing to send police to remove protesters and threatening fines.

The fluorescent vests must be kept in the vehicles of all French drivers in case of auto trouble. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency that is disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.

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.