Paris unrest burns on
Activist loses 4 fingers in clash outside parliament building
PARIS — A French yellow-vest protester’s hand was ripped apart Saturday during violent clashes in Paris as demonstrators tried to storm the French National Assembly in a 13th consecutive week of unrest.
Police said the injured protester lost four fingers as police swooped in to stop the crowd from breaching the parliament’s exterior. Police could not confirm French media reports that the hand of the demonstrator, who is now being treated in the hospital, was blown up by a grenade used to disperse unruly crowds.
As scuffles broke out in front of the National Assembly and police responded with tear gas, paramedics huddled around the injured protester at the National Assembly gates.
Police used batons and fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators, some of whom threw debris at riot police. Cars, motorbikes and trash bins were set ablaze as the protest moved toward the city’s Invalides monument and on to the Eiffel Tower.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner went to Twitter to express his “disgust” as protesters set fire to an anti-terror military car. Its yellow smoking plumes, against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, made for a powerful image of rejecting authority.
Such vehicles have been a common sight in Paris since deadly extremist attacks in 2015.
“Every day the military … protects our compatriots from the risk of terrorism. These attacks are intolerable,” Castaner said.
Police said 31 demonstrators had been arrested in the unrest. But France’s Interior Ministry said the protest was
significantly smaller than the previous week’s.
The yellow-vest activists, who have inspired hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets over the past three months, are now trying to achieve electoral success but the movement is politically divided and has no appointed leader.
Earlier Saturday, activists in Latvia staged a picket in front of the French Embassy in Riga, the capital of the small Baltic European Union country, to support the yellow-vest movement and urge Latvians to demand higher living standards.
The activists waved Latvia’s red-and-white flag, shouting slogans like “the French have woken up, while Latvians remain asleep.”
Riot police respond Saturday at the Eiffel Tower in Paris near an anti-terror-squad vehicle that was set on fire by yellow vest protesters. One demonstrator’s hand was ripped apart as a group tried to storm the French National Assembly before moving toward the Eiffel Tower.
Yellow-vest protesters demonstrate Saturday in central Paris. The activists are trying to achieve electoral success despite being politically divided and having no appointed leader.
A Porsche parked on a street in Paris was vandalized by yellowvest protesters during clashes with police Saturday.