As France moves into its sixth day of protests over rising fuel prices, The country’s Police have confirmed 2 people dead and over 500 injured.
By Shaquile Goff
Rabat – France is still dealing with anti-government protests organized by a group known as the “Yellow Vests.” Protesting the rising price of fuel, nearly 300,000 people took to the streets on Saturday, many wearing yellow reflective vests.
The protesters set up roadblocks and quickly paralyzed French roads. Protesters also stationed around strategic positions like fuel depots. Police are now systematically working to dislodge protesters across the country, according to French sources
Since Saturday, over 500 people have been injured, and two people died as a result of the traffic jams caused by the blockades. Businesses are also suffering since the protests broke out. Few people are able to find fuel stations that still have fuel in stock, leading to less people travelling to business centres. Freight shipments are also unable to get to businesses as well, leading to a double-headed issue for many stores in the country.
Outcry grew after President Emmanuel Macron introduced a new hydrocarbon tax to promote alternative energy. The tax raised prices 23% in a year, to an average of €1.51/liter of diesel. The last time fuel prices were this high was the early 2000s, says AFP.
Drivers are not pleased with the taxes, and a French poll showed that over 70 percent of citizens support the Yellow Vests. Thursday morning, neighboring countries reported protests spilled over their borders.
Global oil prices are steadily falling, since they peaked in October. However, the citizens of France are not feeling the benefits of this due to Macron’s taxes. Macron asked for dialogue, and his administration promised to invest €500 million to assist working-class households through energy subsidies and higher scrappage bonuses for the purchase of cleaner vehicles.
Similar protests occurred in Morocco earlier this year. In October, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and freight drivers went on strike to protest against high fuel prices. Although the Moroccan protest was not as intense and violent as in France, Moroccans still felt its effect on commodity prices.
The cost of food, especially fruit and vegetable prices rose by nearly 33 percent after the strike.
Prices in Morocco are much lower now. In France, however, the situation remains tense, and protesters are planning large demonstrations in Paris this weekend.