French protester killed in accident at anti-fuel tax blockade

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She accidentally struck and killed a woman in her 60s, the interior ministry said.

Among the injured was a police officer in the southern town of Grasse.

Around 46,000 people took part across France in a second day of protests, police said, compared to Saturday when close to 300,000 people participated, although there were again clashes with police - and sometimes motorists.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, standing firm against a wave of grassroots protests, said Sunday that fuel tax hikes would remain in place despite nationwide agitation.

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, attend a demonstration at the entrance of a shopping centre in Nantes, France, Sunday.

The taxes they are angry about are part of President Emmanuel Macron's strategy to move France away from fossil fuels.

Parisian traffic was snarled as more than 1,000 people marched in the center of the capital, and one protester died in southeastern France after being hit by a auto whose driver panicked amid a road blockade.

In the eastern Savoie region, a 63-year-old woman was killed when a mother trying to take her daughter to see a doctor panicked after protesters surrounded their vehicle, and suddenly accelerated into the crowd. He said the woman told them she was taking her daughter to a doctor. Officials say that 24 people have been arrested and 17 held for questioning.

Of the 409 injured, 28 are members of the police and fire brigade, said Christophe Castaner, the interior minister.

Protesters pledged to target tollbooths, roundabouts and the bypass that rings Paris on Saturday. They called themselves "yellow jackets" because most were wearing the fluorescent yellow vests that must be kept in vehicles of all French drivers in case of auto troubles.

The protesters' chief complaint: the rising cost of diesel fuel. However, protesters and their supporters have voiced anger about other issues, too, including diminishing buying power. A "carbon trajectory" calls for continued increases. French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said the tax on diesel will increase by 6.5 cents per liter in January 2019, while the tax on gasoline is set to increase by 2.9 cents. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency they view as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties and serving the rich.

Macron's popularity has plunged, hovering around 30 per cent.

"There are many young people among us because we can't make ends meet anymore", said Emilie, a 27-year old temporary sales manager in Cavaillon in the south of the country.

"We've had enough of it".

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