Fresh clashes in French fuel price protests
Fresh clashes Sunday in the "yellow vest" fuel price protests across France led to more injuries to add to the more than 400 already reported by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
Although the protests appeared to be less widespread than those seen at the 87 locations tallied by the interior ministry overnight, protestors again clashed with police - and sometimes motorists.
Sunday's protests touched several regions across France, but their intensity appeared to be diminishing, according to AFP journalists.
Police were searching for a motorist who forced a road block at Saint-Quentin, northeast France, leaving one protestor seriously injured.
And police used tear gas to break up a gathering of about a thousand protestors near the northern city of Caen, after vandalism of traffic radar and the burning of wooden pallets.
Earlier Sunday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner reported that the first day and night of protests had left one person dead and more than 400 people hurt, 14 seriously.
The injury toll followed what Castaner described as a "restive" night in 87 locations around the country, where protesters had blocked roads to express their anger at a series of hikes in petrol tax.
The injured, 409 in total, included 28 police, paramilitary police or firefighters.
French retail group Auchan reported violent incidents at around 20 shopping centres where it operates hypermarkets.
Castaner told RTL radio that 288,000 people had taken part in Saturday's protests at 2,034 locations countrywide.
About 3,500 stayed out overnight, he added.
Police questioned 282 protesters in total, 73 during the night, of whom 157 were taken into custody.
"Last night was restive... There were assaults, fights, stabbings," Castaner said.
"There were fights among 'yellow vest' protesters."
Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said Sunday the government was aware of unhappiness over high fuel taxes, but said it had "a duty" to transform the French economy with the aim of making it less oil-dependent.
A poll published Sunday in the Journal de Dimanche weekly said that 62 percent of those questioned believed their purchasing power was more important than a fast transition towards renewable energy.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was to appear on national TV Sunday evening to discuss the protests.