Yellow vest protestors have destroyed or vandalised almost two thirds of all French speed cameras since their anti-government demonstrations began
- 1920 of 3200 speed cameras have been attacked since protests began in Nov
- It is blow to a government campaign to reduce speeding on France’s roads
- There are some 3500 deaths and 70,000 injuries annually due to road accidents
Almost two thirds of France’s 3200 fixed speed cameras have been destroyed or otherwise vandalized during two months of Yellow Vest protests, it was announced today.
The incredible figure refers to 1920 devices that have been attacked and in some cases smashed to pieces by protesters linked to the anti-government movement.
Christophe Castaner, France’s Interior Minister, said: ‘Nearly sixty per cent of speed cameras have been degraded since the start of the Yellow Vest movement.’
This picture taken on January 8, 2019, in Noyal-sur-Vilaine, western France, shows a fixed speed camera covered by tape and plastic with a graffito reading “GJ” after it was vandalised to block its operation
Speaking at a media briefing in Paris, Mr Castaner added: ‘Nearly sixty per cent of them have been put out of action or otherwise damaged by those belonging to this movement.’
This is viewed as an extremely troubling blow to a government campaign to reduce speeding on France’s roads, where there are some 3500 deaths and 70,000 injuries every year.
The Yellow Vests – who are named after the high visibility motoring jackets that they wear – originally started out as a group of motorists incensed by the high price of fuel.
This picture taken on January 8, 2019, in La Brulatte, western France, shows a fixed speed camera covered by tape and a plastic bag after it was vandalised to block its operation
The protests began in November to oppose fuel tax hikes and have expanded into broader rejections of President Macron (right) and his economic policies. Yellow Vested protesters (left) claim his policy benefits only the rich
When President Emmanuel Macron agreed to cancel green taxes on petrol and diesel, they carried on demonstrating.
Many of their protests have turned extremely violent, with rioting in major cities including Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille.
Motorway toll booths have also been burned down by activists, who are now calling for Mr Macron to resign.
This combination of pictures made on January 10, 2019 with pictures taken between January 8 and 10, 2019 in north western France showing fixed speed cameras damaged to block their operation. Nearly 60 percent of the 3,200 speed radars along French roads have been destroyed or damaged since the ‘Yellow Vests’ (gilets jaunes) movement began
Mr Castaner confirmed that 80,000 police and gendarmes will be on duty across the country on Saturday – the traditional Yellow Vests protest day – when further trouble is expected.
Crackdowns have also been launched against the Yellow Vests, with hundreds arrested.
The Vests have been joined by extremists from the far Right and the ultra-Left, as well as anarchists intent on causing as much damage as possible.
Crisis-ridden Mr Macron has not only climbed down on imposing green surcharges, but increased the national minimum wage by seven per sent, and scrapped tax on bonuses.
But the Yellow Vests said their protests would continue indefinitely as they campaign for even more concessions.
The independent Mr Macron, leader of the Republic On The Move party, won the French presidential election in a landslide in 2017, but he is now dubbed the ‘President of the Rich’ with polls showing his popularity rating down to just 18 per cent.