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A Resurgence Of The French Speed Camera Resistance
After a holiday lull, yellow vest protesters were back out in force calling for an end to the anti-motorist policies in France.

Yellow vest mural
Yellow vest protesters came out in force for the ninth week of demonstrations against the anti-motorist policies of the French government. Tens of thousands of marchers returned to the streets of major cities to call for President Emmanuel Macron to step down. Macron triggered unrest when he proposed a new tax on fuel to fight global warming. On top of that, in July he had ordered the speed limit on departmental roads lowered to 80km/h (50 MPH), massively increasing the number of speed camera tickets issued. The yellow vests fought back in the best way they knew how -- by preventing the cameras from issuing tickets.

The widespread attacks on speed cameras in France has put government officials on edge. The network of over 3200 automated ticketing machines had been expected to generate 1.2 billion euros (US $1.4 billion) in revenue, according to the latest budget. On Thursday, the government released the first official estimate of all cameras in the country have been taken out of service since the yellow vest movement began on November 17.

"Nearly sixty percent of the radars today have been neutralized, attacked, destroyed by those claiming to be a part of this movement," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters.

The experts at Radars-auto obtained the exact figures showing over 6000 attacks in 2018. There were 3932 incidents in which one of the 3257 fixed speed cameras was spraypainted, covered up or otherwise taken out of service. Another 2620 photo radar units were "degraded." A total of 500 were completely destroyed by being set on fire. The figures reflect that the same speed camera can be attacked multiple times in the same month, or even the same week. This happens most frequently with the mobile speed camera units used on freeways. There are 255 of these devices, yet they have recorded over 1000 attacks. Red light cameras have escaped largely unscathed with only 45 incidents so far.

After each attack, officials are desperate to get the disabled devices back into service as quickly as possible to restore revenue. That may not be possible given the demands on repair crews. In the Occitanie region of southern France, which covers an area of 28,000 square miles, about 120 of its 160 photo radar devices are unusable and replacements could take as long as six months. A simple cleaning of a camera's lens takes less time, but officials realize that once the machine is back in service, it is often spraypainted again within days.

In the city of Auxerre, six out of ten cameras were down as of January 7. In the Vienne department, 18 out of 32 cameras are disabled. In the Charente department, was covered with cardboard, while the camera in Lamentin was covered with plywood and two cameras on the ring road were disabled. vigilantes wrapped the speed camera on the D930 in Saint-Sulpice-sur-Risle to keep it from issuing tickets. On Friday, black spraypaint blinded the camera at the Saint-Remi interchange in Reims.

Camera burning
On Sunday, vigilantes set fire to the speed camera on the RD3 in Chalons-en-Champagne. On Thursday, the speed camera on the RD1017 in Tilloloy was torched. On Wednesday, the speed cameras on the RD48 in Bourg-des-Comptes and on the D776 in La Chapelle-Bouexic went up in flames, following destruction of cameras the previous day on the RN137 between Rennes and Saint-Malo. The speed camera on the RN1019 in Bourogne was also destroyed by fire, as was the camera on the RD918 in Crulai. On Tuesday, the camera on the Rue du Poteau in Rambouillet was destroyed by flames. On Monday, January 7, vigilantes used gasoline-soaked tires to burn the speed camera on the RD44 in Sainte-Sigolene. On January 6, vigilantes toasted the speed camera on the D777 in Louvigne-de-Bais.

Outside France
A speed camera was destroyed after it failed to prevent an accident in Ponte di Piave, Italy, on Sunday. Oggi Treviso reported a 20-year-old driver was injured after his Audi A4 crashed into an automated ticketing machine and landed on its roof. In Sestriere, the bright orange column of the speed camera installed on the main street was knocked over. In Rocca Priora, vigilantes torched the speed camera on the Via Della Pineta. In Sevastapol, Russia, vigilantes had destroyed sixteen speed cameras. According to Primechaniya, several of the devices were shot, preventing camera lenses from functioning and damaging solar panels that power the devices. Other cameras were ripped out of the ground and smashed with a sledgehammer. A few cameras were set on fire with gasoline-filled tires.

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