French yel­low vest protests hit 9th week, clash with po­lice

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

French po­lice fire tear gas dur­ing a yel­low vest de­mon­stra­tion in Bourges, cen­tral France on Jan 12. Paris brought in ar­mored ve­hi­cles and the cen­tral French city of Bourges shut­tered

shops to brace for new yel­low vest protests. (AP) Thou­sands of yel­low vest protesters marched Satur­day through Paris and other French cities for a ninth straight week­end to de­nounce Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron’s eco­nomic poli­cies, and re­peated ten­sions broke out with po­lice.

Spo­radic vi­o­lence broke out dur­ing protests in Paris, Bourges, Bordeaux, Rouen, Mar­seille and Toulouse.

Protesters walked peace­fully through cen­tral Paris from the Fi­nance Min­istry in the east of the French cap­i­tal to the Arc de Tri­om­phe in the west.

Scuf­fles be­tween po­lice and ac­tivists then broke out near the mon­u­ment at the end of the march.

Po­lice used tear gas, wa­ter can­non and flash-balls to push back some peo­ple throw­ing rocks and other ob­jects at them.

French se­cu­rity forces equipped with ar­mored ve­hi­cles blocked protesters from go­ing onto nearby Champs-El­y­sees Av­enue. The neigh­bor­hood was re­opened to car traf­fic later Satur­day evening.

The In­te­rior Min­istry said more than 100 peo­ple had been ar­rested in Paris and other French cities, in­clud­ing 82 who were kept in po­lice cus­tody, pri­mar­ily for car­ry­ing po­ten­tial weapons or tak­ing part in vi­o­lence.

The move­ment de­mand­ing wider changes to France’s econ­omy to help strug­gling work­ers ap­peared to gain new mo­men­tum this week­end. The French In­te­rior Min­istry said about 32,000 peo­ple turned out for yel­low vest demon­stra­tions across France at mid­day.

Sev­eral thou­sand protesters marched in the cen­tral city of Bourges, a pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal with a renowned Gothic cathe­dral and pic­turesque wood-framed houses.

French au­thor­i­ties de­ployed 80,000 se­cu­rity forces na­tion­wide for the anti-government protests and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Christophe Cas­taner threat­ened tough re­tal­i­a­tion against any who ri­oted.

Paris po­lice de­ployed ar­mored ve­hi­cles, horses and at­tack dogs around the city on Satur­day. Sub­way sta­tions and some shops closed, no­tably around government build­ings and the Champ­sEl­y­sees, the sparkling av­enue whose lux­ury bou­tiques have been hit by re­peated ri­ot­ing in past protests. (AP)

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