12/24/2018France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Spain: Paint, Fire Disable Speed Cameras
Yellow vest protests diminish while attacks on photo radar grow across France, Italy, Saudi Arabia.
The yellow vest protests in France lost momentum in their sixth week, but officials were dismayed to find the pushback against anti-motorist policies has not let up. The once widespread protest movement became far more targeted. In Bourbon-Lancy, for example, a group of twenty activists clad in yellow vests held a peaceful demonstration on Saturday. They stood at the side of the road near a speed camera singing songs mocking President Emmanuel Macron while warning drivers to ensure that the device would issue no tickets. In the Montmartre district of Paris, however, hundreds of protesters showed up and effectively shut down that part of the city. Participants marched peacefully through the streets singing La Marseillaise. Other marches saw violent pushback from police.
Yellow vest activists spent the week destroying toll booths, parking meters and speed cameras -- striking directly at the revenue mechanisms that the state relies upon to generate over a billion euros in annual revenue. Despite the claims from French officials that the destruction of cameras would diminish public safety, the site Radars Auto noted all categories of accidents, including fatal and injury collisions, dropped in November 2018 while an unprecedented number of the devices were out of service -- a number that continued to grow last week.
By Friday, eight of nine speed cameras on the Cotentin Peninsula were taken out by fire, spraypaint or garbage bags. At the beginning of the week, 21 out of 24 speed cameras in the Aube department were out of order. By Tuesday, all nine cameras on the ring road in Toulouse were non-functional. In Tarn, 23 out of 33 photo radar devices were disabled.
Disabled speed cameras
Just outside Paris in La Defense, vigilantes bent the pole of a road sign so that it covered the lens of a speed camera, while another nearby device was spraypainted black. On Friday, black spraypaint also disabled the speed camera on the D949 in Talmont-Saint-Hilaire. Bright green was the color used on the RN57 in Vincey. On Tuesday, black paint covered the RD643 speed camera in Aubencheul-au-Bac, yellow paint was used in Beauvois-en-Cambresis and in Le Cateau-Cambresis the camera was covered in plastic wrap.
Permanently damaged cameras
Sunday saw more photo radar devices consumed by flames. On the RD9 in Saint-Pierre-du-Champ, the speed camera joined the ever-expanding list of recently destroyed automated ticketing machines. In Plouigneau, it was the camera on the RN12 set on fire. The same fate befell the automated ticketing machines on the RD415 in Le Bonhomme, on the RN83 near Ostheim and on the A35 in Hoerdt. Flames consumed the D1001 speed camera in Yzeux.
On Friday, burning tires took out the speed camera on the D770 in Ploudaniel. On Thursday, four speed cameras in Rethel were torched -- on the RD985 near Novion-Porcien, on the RD946 near Remaucourt, on the A34 near Reims. The speed camera in Truttemer-le-Grand was destroyed by burning tires. In Mirepoix, the camera on the RD119 was set on fire and down the road in Crampagna another camera burned. Over in Vernet-d'Ariege on the RD820 another camera burned along with the camera on the RN20 in Saint-Paul-de-Jarrat. On Wednesday, vigilantes burned the speed camera on the RD34 in Chavagne. On Tuesday, the camera in Pinas was burned. Last week Monday, the mobile speed camera on the RN580 in Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres was destroyed by fire. On the day before, burning tires took out the speed cameras on the D907 in Bost, the D990 in Droiturier and the D994 in Loddes.
Vigilantes in Vinci, Italy, on Thursday cut down the pole on which the speed camera on the Via Pietramarina had been mounted. In Saudi Arabia, Mother Nature took care of a number of speed cameras. Torrential rains in Mecca resulted in flooding that drowned the Saher brand speed cameras (view video). On the Spanish island of Lanzarote, vigilantes struck back against the newly installed speed cameras in Timanfaya and Tinguaton by smashing the lens of the camera with a hammer (view video), bringing the total number of cameras damaged to three.