Around 20 "yellow vest" protesters reportedly blocked an exit ramp and several lanes at the A13 toll booth in Buchelay (Yvelines department) at 14:00 (local time) on Thursday, December 20. Local reports indicate protesters clashed with security forces, and at least one police officer sustained minor injuries.
Additionally, a protester reportedly died Thursday morning after being struck by a truck at an entrance to the A62 near Agen (Lot-et-Garonne department); police believe the driver attempted to break through the "yellow vest" blockade. A heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions are possible in the vicinity of the protest over the coming hours.
The "yellow vest" ("gilets jaunes") movement began on November 17 to protest rising fuel prices and a planned fuel tax. On December 8, thousands of people participated in marches in Paris and across France. Clashes between protesters and security forces, as well as acts of vandalism and looting, were reported in urban centers throughout the country. Police arrested 1939 people throughout the country, including 1082 in Paris, and used tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
The government had previously announced a tax increase on fuel prices, including gasoline and diesel, beginning on January 1, 2019, to promote environmentally-friendly practices. On December 5, the government announced the withdrawal of the carbon tax project from the 2019 budget.
Individuals located in France, particularly those in Yvelines and Lot-et-Garonne departments, are advised to follow all instructions issued by local authorities, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, and allow for extra time to reach their destinations.
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