Violent Protests Shutter Iconic Champs-Élysées in Paris
Attracting more than 80 million visitors per year, France sees more tourists than any other country. Paris, the cultural center of France, is one of the more popular destinations for tourists. Tourists visiting Paris can often be seen strolling the iconic Champs-Élysées, a 1.2-mile long avenue that cuts through the heart of the historical city. The avenue is also the site of some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. However, the Champs-Élysées now resembles a war zone as a result of on-going fuel tax protests.
Photos from TPG contributor Edward Pizzarello show the aftermath of massive protest that took place on the Champs-Élysées yesterday. The protests drew thousands of demonstrators to the popular Paris avenue, no stranger to France's long history of dissent.
Protests turned violent after demonstrators began constructing barricades and setting fires on the avenue. Police barricades were stormed and one vehicle was flipped; four police officers are reported to have been injured. Local businesses were also affected with windows smashed during the demonstrations.
Demonstrations have enveloped France as more than one million upset French civilians have taken to the street to show their disdain over rising fuel taxes. The more recent wave of demonstrations began on November 17th as a direct result of the increasing taxes. According to CNN, diesel fuel prices have increased 16% this year. The taxes also make diesel just as expensive as petrol. The fuel taxes, first implemented under former President Hollande, are intended to promote cleaner forms of transportation including electric cars.
French protestors can often be seen wearing bright yellow utility vests. These yellow vests are required by law to be present in all motor vehicles. This is to increase the visibility of motorists should they be required to exit their vehicles in an emergency or due to a mechanical issue.
As of November 25th, the United States Department of State has yet to issue any travel advisories. Additionally, US-based airlines have yet to issue travel waivers. While protests will likely continue to be held in higher trafficked areas, tourists and visitors should not be deterred from visiting France.
All images by Edward Pizzarello.