Macron faces heat as riots erupt in centre of Paris
PARIS — Rioting broke out on the Champs-Elysees Saturday as police fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of demonstrators protesting against fuel tax increases and President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms.
The base of the Arc de Triomphe was obscured by clouds of tear gas while “yellow vest” demonstrators set fire to a trailer and barricades on Paris’s most famous avenue.
The force and nature of the grassroots protests have led some commentators to warn that Macron is facing a ‘Marie Antoinette moment’ as his approval ratings tumble.
The unrest represents a major challenge for the beleaguered centrist president, whose approval ratings have plummeted below 30 per cent. Opinion polls suggest that more than three-quarters of French people sympathize with the protests.
Sylvie Poireau, 46, said: “We’re made to pay higher taxes while they’ve scrapped the wealth tax on the rich.”