Ambulance drivers protest reforms in French capital amid high tensions


Ambulance drivers lprotest in front of the Assemblee Nationale (French parliament) as part of national ambulance drivers' protest, in Paris, France, Dec. 3, 2018. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON

PARIS.– Ambulance drivers protested in central Paris Monday calling for the government to put the breaks on planned reforms to how emergency service transport is financed.

Dozens of ambulance drivers parked their vehicles in the capital’s Place de la Concorde and along the bridge connecting the square with the National Assembly, the country’s lower chamber of lawmaking, amid heightened tensions in the country following a weekend of heavy clashes as anti-fuel tax protests spiraled into riots.

The so-called gilets jaunes («yellow vests») demonstrations – christened after the fluorescent jackets worn by participants – have for several weeks brought traffic to a halt as drivers take exception to President Emmanuel Macron’s proposals to raise taxes on diesel and gasoline.

Hundreds were detained over the weekend as tensions boiled over and some protesters began to riot, burn cars and damage property.

Dozens of people, including members of the security forces, were injured in clashes.

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