Protest against ris­ing taxes turns vi­o­lent; dozens in­jured

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Sylvie Corbet Sylvie Corbet is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

PARIS — France’s most vi­o­lent ur­ban riot in a decade en­gulfed cen­tral Paris on Satur­day as “yel­low jacket” ac­tivists torched cars, smashed win­dows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Tri­om­phe with graf­fiti.

Pro­test­ers an­gry about ris­ing taxes and the high cost of liv­ing clashed with French riot po­lice, who closed off some of the city’s most pop­u­lar tourist ar­eas and fired tear gas and wa­ter can­nons as they tried to quell the may­hem in the streets.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron de­nounced the vi­o­lence from the G-20 sum­mit in Ar­gentina, say­ing those who at­tacked po­lice and van­dal­ized the Arc de Tri­om­phe will be “held re­spon­si­ble for their acts.” He said he will hold an emer­gency gov­ern­ment meet­ing Sun­day on the protests.

It was the third straight week­end of clashes in Paris with ac­tivists dressed in the flu­o­res­cent yel­low vests of a new protest move­ment and the worst ur­ban vi­o­lence since at least 2005. The scene con­trasted sharply with other protests in France, where demon­stra­tions and road block­ades were largely peace­ful.

Thou­sands of French po­lice were de­ployed to try to con­tain the vi­o­lence, which be­gan Satur­day morn­ing near the Arc de Tri­om­phe and con­tin­ued well af­ter dark. Paris po­lice said at least 110 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 20 po­lice of­fi­cers, were in­jured and 224 oth­ers were ar­rested.

In ad­di­tion to ris­ing taxes, the demon­stra­tors are fu­ri­ous over Macron’s lead­er­ship, say­ing his gov­ern­ment does not care about the prob­lems of or­di­nary peo­ple. The grass­roots protests be­gan with mo­torists up­set over a fuel tax hike, but now in­volve a broad range of de­mands re­lated to France’s high cost of liv­ing.

Kamil Zihnioglu / As­so­ci­ated Press

Yel­low jacket pro­test­ers gather near the Champs-El­y­sees in Paris. Many clashed with po­lice.

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