Woman killed, 47 injured during fuel tax protest, French officials say

Sébastien Bozon AFP |'Yellow vest protesters block traffic in the easter French town of Dole

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.

She was hit in the eastern Savoie region by a driver who apparently accelerated in a panic while caught in the demonstration, according to a regional official.

According to the French Ministry of Internal Affairs, about 1,000 protests are now underway, in which 50,000 people are taking part across the country. An investigation was opened. Officials say 47 people were also injured during the protests.

Protesters are demonstrating against petrol price hikes throughout France.

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Police at first held back protesters from advancing on Paris' Champs-Elysees, with police vans blocking them from moving down the famed avenue.

Sixteen people were lightly injured in other accidents across the country, including a person run over by a vehicle in the north who was left in a critical state, and a policeman in the southern town of Grasse hit by a driver trying to force his way through a blockade.

The fluorescent yellow vests donned by the protesters must be kept in the vehicles of all French drivers in case of auto troubles. The government is preparing to send police to remove protesters and threatening fines.

The fuel taxes are part of Macron's strategy of weaning France off fossil fuels. "There are too many taxes in this country", he told The Associated Press.

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