Teargas, mass arrests as new wave of protest hits Paris
Demonstrators in ‘yellow vests’ seek Macron’s resignation
Armoured vehicles rolled through central Paris on Saturday as riot police clashed with ‘yellow vest’ demonstrators, who set fire to barricades and hurled rocks in the latest demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.
Shouts of “Macron, resign” mingled with teargas on the Champs-Elysees avenue, the scene of the worst rioting in Paris in decades last week. Thick plumes of black smoke from fires could be seen rising high into the sky over the city.
Govt. plea fails
The government’s calls for protesters to stay away from “Act IV” of a battle that began over fuel prices but ballooned into an anti-Macron revolt fell on deaf ears, with demonstrators making their way to Paris from across the country. In the Grands Boulevards shopping district, masked protesters threw rocks at the riot police and set fire to a barricade hastily assembled from stolen dustbins and Christmas trees.
Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said 31,000 people were taking part in protests nationwide, including 8,000 in Paris. Around 700 people were detained, most of them in Paris.
Fuelled by anger: Paris was in lockdown on Saturday as thousands of French security forces braced to meet renewed rioting by “yellow vest” protesters in the capital and other cities in the fourth weekend of confrontation over living costs. Reuters reported the Eiffel Tower and other tourist landmarks were shut, shops were boarded up to avoid looting and street furniture removed to avoid metal bars from being used as projectiles. Protesters, using social media, have billed the weekend as “Act IV” in a dramatic challenge to President Emmanuel Macron and his policies. The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets French motorists have to keep in their cars, erupted in November over the squeeze on household budgets caused by fuel taxes. Pictures show teargas being used as protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration last week and a protester throwing a stone at the broken windows of the Musee de l’Orangerie and a burning vehicle on the Tuileries Garden.
On the offensive: Riot police clashing with protesters on Saturday near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.