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Clashes erupt at "ecotax" demo in France

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Clashes broke out between police and demonstrators in western France on Saturday at a protest against a planned environmental tax. Tens of thousands of demonstrators wearing red hats gathered in Quimper in Brittany to oppose the "ecotax" on heavy goods vehicles which was set to bring in about 1 billion euros ($1.38 billion) per year to help finance mostly rail projects. The demonstration turned violent when protesters started throwing wooden boxes, stones and other objects at riot police standing behind barriers. Police responded with jets of water to disperse the protesters. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced the suspension of the tax earlier in the week in order for the government to go over its terms, but noted that the tax, due to go into force on January 1 and already postponed several times, had been adopted by the previous conservative government.

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