France's 'yellow vest' protesters block major route to Spain

Abdul ABEISSA

A 10th person has died in connection with the "gilets jaunes" or "yellow vest" protests in France as they enter their sixth consecutive weekend.

Earlier in the day, in stark contrast to the last few weekends, tourists strolled down the avenue near the Arc de Triomphe monument, holiday shoppers were out in force and the grandest of Parisian boulevards remained open for traffic.

While the French government has scrapped its planned hike in diesel taxes, which is what initially sparked the protests, the "yellow vest" rallies have evolved into a broader movement against government policies and rising living costs.

Nationwide protests, which began November 17 against a planned fuel tax increase, have continued into a sixth week.

Further demonstrations of several hundred "yellow vests" were reported in Lyon, Marseille, Rouen and Bordeaux.

French authorities on Sunday defended aggressive police actions to contain violence at yellow vest protests after a policeman was seen briefly brandishing a gun at a surging crowd in Paris. But violence again erupted in Paris, with protesters throwing projectiles and chasing police, who were firing tear gas and water cannon.

The number of traffic roundabouts occupied by protesters in yellow high-visibility vests over the past five weeks has also markedly dropped.

I have future without Manchester United: Jose Mourinho
I had done different jobs, you can not compare playing to being manager, I wish him all the best. " Rojo you owe me £20k". "But I've not sat down and talked about that, because my job is to get these players enjoying football".

Nine others have died in incidents linked to the movement, mostly from traffic accidents caused by roadblocks, since the movement started on November 17.

From there the protests quickly morphed into a full-scale revolt against Macron's policies, his aloof, top-down governing style, and the political class as a whole. This was down from a week ago at the same time when there were 33,500 protesters out on the streets, 2,200 of which were in Paris.

In response to a six-week campaign of public anger, the French parliament, meanwhile, passed €10 billion ($11.3 billion) of emergency measures on Friday to reduce the tax burden and increase purchasing power.

The number of protesters has however fallen significantly since last week, when Macron, a pro-business centrist, gave into some of their demands.

According to several reports in French media, a man died on Friday night near the southern city of Perpignan after his vehicle hit the back of a truck that had stopped near a group of protesters.

Around 50 "yellow vests" briefly blocked trucks near the border between France and Spain before gendarmes stepped in.

Earlier, protesters had blocked major highways in the nation, vandalising toll booths and shops and causing hefty losses to road operators.

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