ibusinesslines.com
ibusinesslines.com December 13, 2018


Scuffles and tear gas as riot police clamp down on Paris protest

09 December 2018, 03:03 | Kelvin Horton

ASSOCIATED PRESS A demonstrator watches a burning car near the Champs Elysees avenue during a demonstration last Saturday in Paris

A demonstrator watches a burning car near the Champs Elysees avenue during a demonstration last Saturday in Paris. 

Serge Mairesse, a 62-year-old retired Air France worker from Aubervilliers, just north of Paris, told The Wall Street Journal he wanted to reach the Elysee Palace to "register his anger" over the "government's antisocial policies".

Many members of the protest movement are calling for calm, and some struck a conciliatory tone after meeting the prime minister Friday night, in a last-minute bid to cool tempers.

On Dec 5, Macron announces that all planned fuel tax hikes for 2019 will be scrapped.

The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living.

Hundreds of people gathered early on Saturday around the Arc de Triomphe, which was damaged in rioting a week ago.

The Louvre, Musée d'Orsay and other sites were also closed all day in Paris.

Police were also searching people throughout zones of central Paris and confiscating goggles and gas masks from journalists who use them to protect against tear gas while covering demonstrations.

Protesters who came to Paris from Normandy described seeing officers block yellow-vested passengers from boarding at stops along their route. At least two protesters were detained by police in central Amsterdam.

Macron's government had warned that the yellow vest protests had created a "monster" and that the Paris actions would be hijacked by radicalized and rebellious crowds and become the most risky yet after three weeks of demonstrations.

Police officers clash with demonstrators wearing yellow vests in Paris on Saturday.


Left-wing politicians have expressed outrage at the videos, which have gone viral on social media, showing the teenagers kneeling as riot police barked orders at them.

He said the protests had "created a monster" and vowed a zero-tolerance approach by police to violence. Subway stations in the centre of town were shut down. More than 500 people have been arrested. No injuries have been reported.

President Emmanuel Macron's government is deploying 89,000 security forces around the country for Saturday's protests against his reforms.

"I ask the yellow vests that want to bring about a peaceful message to not go with the violent people".

Major security measures in place ahead of fresh "yellow vest" protests which authorities fear could turn violent for a second weekend in a row.

Macron himself, the target of the protesters' ire, has been largely invisible in recent days, leaving his prime minister and government to try to negotiate with protesters.

Since the anti-government unrest began on November 17 in reaction to a sharp increase in diesel taxes, four people have been killed in protest-related accidents. Christmas markets, national football matches and countless other events have been cancelled or duisrupted by the protests.

Police removed any materials from the streets that could be used as weapons or projectiles during the demonstrations, including street furniture at outdoor cafes.

There were also widespread displays of solidarity from protesters with a group of high-school students who were arrested this week in Mantes-la-Jolie, west of Paris, and forced by the police to kneel in the mud with their hands on their heads. That's because the yellow-vest movement has galvanized support for protests via social networks, particularly Facebook, with a potent mix of genuine stories of suffering caused by real failings of the French government and a raft of conspiracy theories and hoaxes - including the viral rumor that a non-binding United Nations pact on migration would soon put France under UN administration, so that millions of migrants could be resettled to replace the native-born population. On Saturday, heavily armed French police used tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters.



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