Cops clash with Paris pro­test­ers

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE -

paris — French riot po­lice clashed with ‘yel­low vest’ pro­test­ers in cen­tral Paris on Satur­day dur­ing the lat­est wave of demon­stra­tions against high liv­ing costs which have shaken Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron’s author­ity. Pro­test­ers played a cat-and-mouse game with po­lice, mov­ing from the Champs El­y­sees area to other parts of the city. —

paris — French riot po­lice fired tear­gas 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 anti-Macron 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 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.

“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”.

“The trou­ble­mak­ers can only be ef­fec­tive when they dis­guise them­selves as yel­low vests. Vi­o­lence is never a good way to get what you want. Now is the time for dis­cus­sion,” he said. —

AFP

Yel­low vest pro­test­ers block the ring road in Mon­dev­ille, France, on Satur­day. —

AP

Clashes erupt as po­lice of­fi­cers block demon­stra­tors wear­ing yel­low vests on a street in Paris on Satur­day. —

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