France fuel protests

This item appears on page 16 of the January 2019 issue.

Almost 300,000 people gathered across France in mid-November to protest rising fuel costs and a planned increase in fuel taxes, blocking roads and disrupting services. The protesters, who were not organized by any single group or union, have come to be known as "yellow vests" because of the bright-yellow reflective vests — legally required to be carried in every car in France — that they wear in solidarity.

Conflicts, both between opposing protester groups and between protesters and bystanders, have caused hundreds of injuries, with some stabbings reported. One protester was killed when a driver panicked and drove into a crowd, and one nonprotester was killed when a thrown projectile went through the window of her home, striking her in the head. Since Nov. 24, protesters in Paris have been erecting barriers on city streets and continue to be driven off with tear gas and water cannons.

Protests were ongoing throughout France at press time.