French road operator VINCI Autoroutes says it has become the latest victim of the nationwide Yellow Vest protests. It claims weeks of rallies and attacks on highways and facilities resulted in tens of millions of euros in damages.
The company reported on Sunday that the wave of demonstrations had affected some 250 of its sites since the beginning of the anti-fuel tax hike movement in November. Angry crowds burned at least 6 buildings and more than 30 vehicles, and vandalized several facilities and interchanges in addition to other destruction.
The latest major highways which suffered from the Yellow Vest blockades on Saturday were A7, A9 and A20. Last weekend, the movement’s actions were reportedly calmer and fewer participants hit the streets compared to the week before. The protesters lit fires right in the middle of the road, blocking traffic, and turned one of the entry points to the highway into their “camp.”
The company’s report is the latest signal that the movement is hurting the French economy. Last week, the Bank of France lowered the GDP growth forecast for 2018 and 2019 from 1.6 percent to 1.5 percent, warning that the longer the unrest lasts the greater the losses will be for the national economy. In real money the sum amounts to $ 28 billion based on the IMF forecast for the country’s GDP of almost $ 2.8 trillion for 2018.
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