A fatal collision occurred on a motorway in the southwestern department of Ariege as a car crashed into a roadblock set up by protesting farmers.
The incident has further intensified the ongoing nationwide demonstrations, with three individuals now in police custody on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter.
The occupants of the vehicle, a couple and their friend, were apprehended after their car breached the clearly marked closed road due to the ongoing agricultural protests.
Ariege prefect Simon Bertoux informed reporters that the vehicle was travelling on the dual-lane carriageway, disregarding the closure implemented because of the farmers’ demonstration.
Contrary to initial speculations, local prosecutor Olivier Mouysset stated that early findings from the investigation indicate the crash was not intentional.
The vehicle collided with a barrier made of straw bales at the roadblock, resulting in the tragic demise of a 35-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter. The husband, aged 40, sustained injuries and is currently receiving medical treatment.
Mouysset elaborated that the car, navigating in darkness, only came to a halt after crashing into the trailer of a tractor at the roadblock. The police source added that the vehicle was travelling “at speed” as it collided with the barrier.
However, a subsequent test revealed that the 44-year-old driver, an Armenian national, was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The deceased woman was a member of the influential FNSEA farmers union, which has been spearheading nationwide protests, and her tragic demise adds a sombre note to the already charged atmosphere.
The daughter, who succumbed to injuries at the hospital, and the injured husband underscore the human toll of the unfortunate incident.
The broader southwestern Occitanie region has recently witnessed escalating tensions due to farmers’ protests, making it a focal point of the nationwide movement.
The collision has now heightened concerns over the safety of both protesters and commuters, prompting a reevaluation of the measures in place during such demonstrations.
As investigations continue to unfold, authorities are faced with the challenging task of balancing the right to protest with ensuring public safety on the roads.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the complexities surrounding protests and the potential risks they pose, shedding light on the need for effective communication and safety protocols in such situations.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members