The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Boulevards in lockdown Hundreds of Yellow Vests held in Paris by riot police using gas and rubber bullets


one of the capital’s main shopping districts, near famed department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, and the Palais Garnier opera house. Prized monuments and normally bustling shopping meccas were locked down at the height of the festive retail season as protesters condemned President Emmanuel Macron and France’s high taxes.

The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum were among tourist attraction­s that remained closed, fearing damage after rioting and looting last Saturday that saw

130 people injured. Clashes last weekend were among the worst seen in the French capital for decades, with four people being killed in accidents since the unrest began on November 17. The movement, dubbed the yellow vests, started as an opposition to fuel tax rises but ministers say it has been hijacked by “ultra-violent” protesters. The name comes from the hi-vis vests that all French motorists are required to keep in their cars.

Some 8,000 police officers and 12 armoured vehicles were deployed in Paris yesterday, and nearly 90,000 officers were on duty across the country. Mr Macron’s government had warned that the yellow vest protests had created a “monster” and the Paris actions would be hijacked by “radicalise­d and rebellious” crowds. Interior minister Christophe Castaner urged for calm, and said: “I ask the yellow vests that want to bring about a peaceful message to not go with the violent people. We know that the violent people are only strong because they hide themselves within the yellow vests, which hampers the security forces.”

Mr Macron has been largely invisible in recent days, leaving his prime minister and government to try to negotiate with protesters.

Parts of Paris looked like they were bracing for a hurricane, with boards on windows covering up the Christmas decoration­s. Offshoot movements have emerged elsewhere, and yellow vest protests were held yesterday in Belgium and the Netherland­s. Hundreds of protesters calling for the resignatio­n of Belgian prime minister Charles Michel marched on the European quarter of Brussels, while in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, a few hundred protesters walked peacefully across the Erasmus Bridge singing and handing flowers to passers-by.

 ??  ?? Yellow Vests kick tear gas back towards police, and set fire to Christmas trees
Yellow Vests kick tear gas back towards police, and set fire to Christmas trees
 ??  ?? Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron

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