Truck drivers block a part of a highway near Lanrodec, western of France, to protest against an environmental tax on November 16, 2013. Protests over the new 'ecotax' on trucks, which aims to encourage environmentally friendly commercial transport, kicked off in earnest last month in the northwestern region of Brittany and eventually forced the government to backtrack and suspend the levy. A banner hung on the gate of a bridge reads ' No to ecotax. How to get it across to you?'. AFP PHOTO / FRED
PARIS (AP) - Between 2,000 and 4,000 freight trucks have 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 numerous protests in the region of Brittany, where opponents donned red caps in a series of demonstrations that sometimes erupted into violence and vandalism against the still-unused payment kiosks.
France's Interior Ministry estimated 2,100 trucks took part; the protest's organizer, OTRE, which represents truckers, counted 4,000. The group pledged not to attack the kiosks but said they want the tax cancelled entirely.
At a Friday night protest in Arles, hundreds of farmers tried to reach a kiosk but were blocked by police.
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