Fresh clashes in French 'yellow vest' fuel price protests

The 'yellow vest' protests are taking place across France

Wearing the safety hazard jackets drivers are mandated by law to carry in their auto, "Yellow Vests" are protesting the 23 per cent rise in diesel to €1.51 (£1.32/$1.71) per litre - the increase coming in a span of just 12 months and at its highest point since the early 2000s.

Injuries were reported in other areas as some drivers confronted protesters or tried to force their way through blockades.

The "yellow vests" movement, named for the high-visibility jackets worn by supporters, erupted on social media last month with calls for blockades of roads and highways.

The diesel tax increases, created to encourage drivers to switch to more environmentally-friendly cars, were approved in late 2017 but began to bite when oil prices surged in October, angering some in the provinces who rely on their cars to get to work.

The French interior ministry said that almost 300 protesters were questioned, with 157 among them taken into custody.

Police at first held back protesters from advancing on Paris's Champs-Elysees, with police vans blocking them from moving down the famed avenue, but up to 200 people were later seen walking down the street, apparently heading towards the Elysee presidential palace.

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.

"They have sent a message", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

A total of 117 people were arrested with 73 of them held for questioning. She accidentally struck and killed a woman in her 60s, the interior ministry said.

The tally of injured in assaults, fights, and stabbings during France's "yellow vest" protests against fuel price hikes has jumped to more than 400 after a restive night.

Two more people were hit by a auto and one of them suffered serious injuries in the northern city of Arras and were taken to the hospital, according to local media.

In a similar scenario, police cleared out the huge traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe, paralyzed for hours by protesters.

Ecology minister Francois de Rugy confirmed the government's commitment to the policy Sunday, telling Le Parisien that France needed to get itself out of the "trap" of fossil fuel reliance. A "carbon trajectory" calls for continued increases.

But he said he would not rescind increases on fuel tax - set to rise again in January. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency that is disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.

Macron's popularity has plunged, hovering around 30 percent.

"We work like slaves and at some point enough is enough. There are too many taxes in this country", he told The Associated Press.

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