Tear­gas, mass ar­rests as new wave of protest hits Paris

Demon­stra­tors in ‘yel­low vests’ seek Macron’s res­ig­na­tion

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE -

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.


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