10th death linked to France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests

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

A 36-year-old man was killed in a road accident in the southern French city of Perpignan after encountering a blockade set up by “yellow vest” protesters late Friday night, according to a city spokeswoman.

“At a roundabout blocked by the gilets jaunes, a man in his car hit a truck in front of him. The driver of the car died,” the spokeswoman said.

Most of the deaths occurred in traffic accidents related to blockades in November and December, according to Le Parisien newspaper and CNN reporting. Earlier this month, an 80-year-old woman died when a tear gas canister went through her window.

The protests — named after the yellow high-visibility jackets French motorists must carry in their vehicles — started November 17 in reaction to an eco-tax on gas but have since morphed into disparate demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

Under pressure to respond, Macron pledged earlier this month to increase the minimum wage and scrap new pension taxes. But this move has done little to appease the anger felt by some hard-core protesters.

About 800 people marched Saturday in Paris, CNN French affiliate BFMTV reported, citing Paris police.

The number of demonstrators has dwindled over the past couple of weeks, while authorities have ramped up policing to prevent a repeat of earlier violence.

By midafternoon on December 15, about 34,000 protesters had turned out across France, including more than 2,000 in Paris, according to the Interior Ministry. The previous week, some 77,000 protesters demonstrated across the country, including 10,000 in Paris.