French cops, yellow vests clash in Paris

Au­thor­i­ties ar­rest 361 peo­ple with var­i­ous po­ten­tial weapons

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - W RLD - —AP —Reuters

Paris: French riot po­lice fired tear gas and clashed with “yellow vest” pro­test­ers in cen­tral Paris on Satur­day dur­ing the lat­est in a wave of demon­stra­tions against the high cost of liv­ing that have shaken Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron’s au­thor­ity.

Au­thor­i­ties said 575 peo­ple had been searched and briefly ar­rested and 361 peo­ple of them re­mained in cus­tody af­ter po­lice found po­ten­tial weapons such as ham­mers, base­ball bats and metal petanque balls on them.

Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers were milling around the Arc de Tri­om­phe mon­u­ment, which was de­faced with an­tiMacron graf­fiti last Satur­day, when ri­ot­ers also torched dozens of cars and looted shops in the worst ri­ot­ing in Paris since May 1968.

A po­lice spokes­woman told re­porters there were about 1,500 pro­test­ers on the Champs El­y­sees boule­vard. Large groups of peo­ple spilled into other ar­eas and head­ing to eastern Paris, where a march against cli­mate change was sched­uled for the af­ter­noon. Some also tem­po­rar­ily blocked the ring road cir­cling cen­tral Paris.

“We took the train for 11 hours just to protest to­day. We feel scorned by these tech­nocrats that gov­ern us,” said Gilles Noblet, a demon­stra­tor from the south­west re­gion of Ariege.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe ap­pealed for re­straint. “We will do all we can so that to­day can be a day with­out vi­o­lence, so that the di­a­logue that we started this week can con­tinue in the best pos­si­ble cir­cum­stances,” he said on French tele­vi­sion.

On Tues­day, Philippe an­nounced the gov­ern­ment was sus­pend­ing planned in­creases to fuel taxes for at least six months to help defuse weeks Brus­sels: Hun­dreds of yellow-vested pro­test­ers call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion of Bel­gian Prime Minister Charles Michel marched on the Euro­pean quar­ter of Brus­sels Satur­day, as the move­ment that started in France made its mark in Bel­gium and the Nether­lands.

Po­lice used pep­per spray and scuf­fled with a small group of pro­test­ers who tried to break through their bar­ri­cade block­ing ac­cess to the Euro­pean Parliament and the Euro­pean Union’s other main in­sti­tu­tions.

The ral­lies, which started at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions around the city and con­verged on the Euro­pean quar­ter, have dis­rupted road and rail traf­fic on one of the busiest Christ­mas shop­ping days of the year.

Walk­ing be­hind a ban­ner

of protests, the first U-turn by Macron since he came to power 18 months ago.

About 89,000 po­lice were de­ployed across France on Satur­day, some 8,000 of them in Paris. read­ing “so­cial win­ter is com­ing,” the pro­test­ers chanted “(French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel) Macron, Michel re­sign.”

Dozens of peo­ple were searched at sta­tions and po­lice have warned peo­ple to stay away from the area.

Hun­dreds of po­lice of­fi­cers have been be­ing mo­bi­lized in Brus­sels. Last week, yellow vest pro­test­ers last week clashed with po­lice and torched two po­lice ve­hi­cles. More than 70 peo­ple were de­tained

In the Dutch city of Rot­ter­dam, a few hun­dred pro­test­ers in the high vis­i­bil­ity vests that have be­come a sym­bol of the move­ment walked peace­fully across the down­town Eras­mus Bridge singing a song about the Nether­lands and hand­ing flow­ers to passers-by.

“We have pre­pared a ro­bust re­sponse,” In­te­rior Minister Christophe Cas­taner told on­line news site Brut. He called on peace­ful pro­test­ers not to get mixed up with “hooli­gans”.

—AFP

Riot po­lice walk to­wards protestors near the Arc de Tri­om­phe in Paris

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