Woman dies during French protests against high fuel prices
Paris - A woman has died during protests against rising petrol and diesel prices and government plans to further hike the tax on vehicle fuel in France.
Another woman driving a car panicked when she encountered a roadblock and ran over a protester, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Saturday on live television.
The accident took place in the town of Pont-de-Beauvoisin, to the north of the city of Grenoble in south-eastern France, according to the minister.
France was expecting a country-wide wave of protests.
A movement on social media - apparently without any central leadership - has called for protesters wearing yellow high-visibility jackets to take to the streets.
Some of the hundreds of social media events call for roadblocks, while "snail operations" - where protesters intentionally drive slowly across multiple lanes on highways - are also expected.
Newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday that while about 1,500 events were expected, only 100 had been declared to local authorities, a legal requirement in France.
President Emmanuel Macron's government has given a mixed reaction.
On the one hand, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced incentivizing measures to aid motorists, including a 4,000-euro (4,559-dollar) grant for poorer families to replace older, less fuel-efficient vehicles.
But, on the other hand, Castaner has warned that security forces will take action anywhere protesters block traffic.
Philippe has also ruled out any changes to government plans to raise fuel taxes by 4 euro cents per litre for petrol and 7 cents for diesel.
An online petition against the tax rises on the website change.org has received support from more than 800,000 people.
Some Macron supporters have accused far-right leader Marine Le Pen's National Rally of hijacking the movement. Two major trade unions have also refused to join the protests, citing the involvement of the far right.
But opposition figures from the centre-right and left have also backed the protests.dpa