1/7/2019French Yellow Vest Protests Regain Steam
French yellow vest protesters disabled speed cameras for the new year, as did vigilantes in Italy. A German speed camera caused a fatal accident.
Yellow vest protests in France regained steam over the weekend. The movement had kicked off on November 17 in reaction to the anti-motorist policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Robust crowds in the hundreds of thousands complained about hikes in the fuel tax and the lowering of the speed limit. Over the holidays, the crowds thinned substantially. The pace picked up over the past week as violent clashes resumed in Paris and other cities following Wednesday's arrest of yellow vest leader Eric Drouet. Measured by the number of speed cameras attacked, the yellow vest movement remains strong.
In the Reims metropolitan area, sixty percent of cameras are out of order. Since July, fifty speed cameras in the Cher department and 17 out of 17 cameras in the Indre department have been covered, sprayed or burned. All five of the speed cameras in the Pays-Haut region were out of service on Friday. Only one camera works in the city of Saint-Etienne. The anti-camera sentiment extends to France's overseas territories. In Martinique, the new year began with five of the twenty speed cameras on the Caribbean island disabled. Officials expect it will take at least a month to restore the automated ticketing volume. In Cayenne, French Guiana, the speed camera on the Route de Montabo was painted yellow early in the week.
On Sunday, vigilantes blinded the speed camera on the A36 in Sochaux with yellow spraypaint. In Le Cateau-Cambresis, red spraypaint was used on the RD643 speed camera on Saturday. A colorful mix of red and yellow paint kept the speed camera in Belfort from issuing tickets. Last week Sunday, the speed camera in Dracy-Saint-Loup was painted green.
Permanent camera destruction
On Sunday, vigilantes set fire to a trio of speed cameras. The devices were located on the RN124 in Endoufielle, in Sauveterre and Boucagneres. Burning tires took out the speed camera on the Boulevard Charles de Gaulle in Saint-Herblain on Saturday. Around the same time, the speed camera on the RN102 in Loudes went up in flames. The speed cameras on the D308 in Mesnil-le-Roi and the in D154 in Les Mureaux likewise were set ablaze, as was the camera on the RN44 in Couvrot. On Friday, four speed cameras near Puy-en-Velay were set on fire. The devices were located on the RD103 and RN88 and in Chaspinhac. In Cintegabelle and Villeneuve-les-Bouloc, a pair of speed cameras were destroyed with burning tires. Only the burnt-out shell of a speed camera remained on the RD952 in Les Bordes where the device was torched on Thursday.
On New Year's Day, the camera on the RD986 in Saint-Gely-du-Fesc was torched. New Year's Eve saw the camera on the RN520 near Limoges set ablaze along with the camera on the Avenue de l'Europe in Montpellier. The speed camera on the RN151 in Brecy was pried open. On December 29, vigilantes burned the speed camera on the same road in Les Matelles.
On December 22, a speed camera in Stolberg, Germany, caused a deadly accident that took the lives of five people, including a mother and her two teenage children. According to Aachen police, an investigation determined a 20-year-old BMW sedan driver lost control after maneuvering to avoid a speed camera and struck an Opel Astra. The impact killed the BMW driver and his 21-year-old passenger and the family traveling in the Opel. In Basedow, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a 61-year-old man pulled over near a mobile speed camera on Thursday so that he could knock it over and rip out its cables.
In Empoli, Italy, the orange "VeloOK" speed camera housing on the Via della Motta was knocked down and ripped apart by vigilantes, La Nazione observed. On New Year's Eve, vigilantes in Vinci, Italy, cut down the speed camera located on the Via Pietramarina. According to ANSA, this is the second such attack in the area over the past ten days. In Teolo, vigilantes on New Year's Day knocked over the speed camera on the Via Marconi less than 24 hours after it was turned on for the first time, Il Gazzettino reported. A pair of automated ticketing machines in Bolzano Novarese were likewise pulled from their mounting. The device on the Via Frera was left in the street, while the other camera disappeared.