French officials said members of the “yellow vest” protest movement vandalized or destroyed more than half of the country’s speed camera network, which were seen by some as a cynical revenue-generating measure aimed at the middle and lower classes.
Speaking to the BBC, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said 60 percent – or about 3,200 – of the speed cameras had been vandalized since November when the movement began over fuel and tax increases. Castaner said the damage threatens road safety and puts lives in danger.
He said the cameras were "neutralized, attacked or destroyed.”
Speeds limits were already controversial in France when the government early last year lowered the limit on many roads to 50 mph, the BBC said. Many have complained about the rising costs of commuting for those priced out of urban areas.
Protesters have taken to covering the speed cameras in paint or black tape that prevents them from taking photos of speeding cars' license plates and sending the motorists a ticket, according to U.S. News and World Report.
"I saw on social networks a few fools who appear next to burnt speed cameras. I do not wish for them to one day face the reality of a death on the road. It's not about figures, it's about life," Castaner said.