A farmer throws a tire towards police as farmers block a main road, facing the police, in Arles, southern France,Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Demonstrators are protesting against the controversial governmental environment “eco-tax”. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
PARIS (AP) — Between 2,000 and 4,000 freight trucks closed off major French highways and slowed traffic to a crawl on nine roadways to protest a proposed environmental tax on heavy loads.
France’s Socialist government in late October suspended the tax, which initially was the focus of sometimes violent demonstrations in the region of Brittany, where opponents donned red caps and torched the still-unused payment kiosks.
France’s Interior Ministry estimated 2,100 trucks took part in Saturday’s “snail operation”; the protest’s organizer, OTRE, which represents truckers, counted 4,000. The group pledged not to attack the kiosks but said it wants the tax canceled entirely. The protest ended with no reports of violence.
At a Friday night demonstration in Arles, hundreds of famers tried to reach a kiosk but were blocked by police.