Woman dies when vehicle hits French farmers’ barrier

Henry

A woman died after a car plowed through a roadblock believed to have been set up by protesting farmers in southwestern France on Tuesday.

The woman’s husband and teenage daughter were seriously injured.

Information indicates that the car burst through a barrier of straw bales at a roadblock in Ariège in the southwestern region of Occitanie in the dark. The car hit three people (the deceased woman, her husband and child) and only stopped when it collided with the trailer of a tractor at the roadblock.

The three occupants of the car that plowed through the barrier – a couple and a friend – were arrested after the incident on suspicion of culpable homicide.

However, local prosecutor Olivier Mouysset says an initial investigation indicates that the car did not collide with the barrier on purpose.

The road leading to the barricade was indeed closed to traffic due to the protest.

A police source said the car hit the barrier “at speed”.

A test has since confirmed that the driver of the car, a 44-year-old man, was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident.

Simon Bertoux, an official of the authority in Ariège where the incident took place, said during a media conference that all three occupants of the car were Armenian citizens.

Farmers have been protesting for days in Ariège.

Representatives of French agricultural unions met with Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on Monday to discuss their concerns. These include low food prices, rising levies for farmers, higher fuel prices and environmental protection rules that they say are unacceptable.

Attal promised during the meeting on Monday evening that a number of measures would be announced by the end of the week.

The woman who died in the incident at the roadblock was in her 30s and a member of the powerful FNSEA farmers’ union, which is leading nationwide protests. Her husband, in his 40s, and daughter (14) are also both members of the union.

Arnaud Rousseau, president of the FNSEA, was the first person to report the incident to the authorities.

“In the current circumstances regarding farming, this kind of incident is difficult to process,” Rousseau said in response to the incident.