December 15, 2018 10:35 am
Updated: December 15, 2018 6:45 pm

8th fatality reported in France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests

WATCH: Police in Belgium deploy water cannons, tear gas against ‘yellow vest’ protesters

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The French interior minister says that an eighth person has died since the start of a nationwide yellow vest protest movement that began in mid-November over fuel tax hikes but has expanded to an array of issues.

Christophe Castaner said in a tweet on Saturday that the death occurred the previous night. He said that all traffic circles in France — some of which have been manned day and night by protesters — “should be freed.”

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READ MORE: Thousands of protesters hit the streets in France in fifth week of yellow vest protests

The tweet provided no details about the death, but suggested that it occurred at one of the traffic circle that dot the French countryside and where the majority of deaths have occurred.

The announcement of a new death followed a day of demonstrations around France for a fifth Saturday, though numbers of protesters were dramatically down.

Earlier on Saturday, Belgian police said that a man died after he crashed his car into a truck at a protesters’ roadblock on the Franco-Belgian border. That incident brought the number of protest-related deaths to seven.

WATCH: Riots in France borne out of financial frustrations

Paris police say 115 people were taken into custody in a day of mainly calm protests in the French capital that left seven people slightly injured.

The safety vests have become the symbol of a nationwide movement that began in November against what protesters say is economic injustice reserved for rank-and-file French.

Police put the number in Paris at about 3,000, compared to 10,000 a week ago, when protests degenerated into violence and looting for the second week in a row.

The French press quoted authorities as saying that 33,500 protesters turned out nationwide Saturday, less than half the number of the previous week.

IN PHOTOS: ‘Yellow vest’ protesters take to the streets in France

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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