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France Fuel Protests: Police In Paris Fire Tear Gas

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Police in Paris have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters demonstrating for a second weekend against rising fuel prices.

Clashes broke out on the Champs-Elysées despite a police security cordon around sensitive sites in the centre of the French capital.

Some 280,000 people took part in protests at more than 2,000 locations across France last Saturday.

Organisers billed the latest protests as “act two” in their rolling campaign.

Known as “yellow jackets” after their distinctive high-visibility attire, the protesters oppose an increase in fuel duty on diesel.

Several thousand demonstrators assembled on Saturday on the Champs-Elysées, where they came up against a police cordon designed to stop them reaching key buildings such as the prime minister’s official residence.

It is part of a large police-enforced perimeter around districts demonstrators are banned from entering.

The authorities say that so far there is no sign the demonstrators have been able to enter unauthorised areas.

Video posted on social media showed firecrackers being thrown at police as protesters shouted slogans calling for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

Some 3,000 police have been deployed in city. Some estimates suggest 30,000 protesters are expected in the capital.

What lies behind the protesters’ anger?

The price of diesel, the most commonly used fuel in French cars, has risen by around 23% over the past 12 months to an average of €1.51 (£1.32; $1.71) per litre, its highest point since the early 2000s.

World oil prices did rise before falling back again but the Macron government raised its hydrocarbon tax this year by 7.6 cents per litre on diesel and 3.9 cents on petrol, as part of a campaign for cleaner cars and fuel.

The decision to impose a further increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol on 1 January 2019 was seen as the final straw.

The president has blamed world oil prices for three-quarters of the price rise. He also said more tax on fossil fuels was needed to fund renewable energy investments.



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