French police clash with protesters decrying fuel taxes
PARIS — French police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse violent demonstrators in Paris on Saturday, as thousands gathered in the capital and beyond and staged road blockades to vent anger against rising fuel taxes.
Thousands of police were deployed nationwide to contain the eighth day of deadly demonstrations that started as protests against tax but morphed into a rebuke of President Emmanuel Macron and the perceived elitism of France’s ruling class.
Two people have been killed since Nov. 17 in protest-related tragedies.
Tense clashes on the Champs-Elysees on Saturday saw police face off with demonstrators who burned plywood, wielded placards reading “Death to Taxes” and upturned a large vehicle.
At least eight people, including two police officers, were injured in the day of unrest across France, according to authorities. Police said that dozens of protesters were arrested or detained in Paris for “throwing projectiles,” among other acts.
In the Place de la Madeleine, scooters were burned to blackened shells.
“It’s going to trigger a civil war and me, like most other citizens, we’re all ready,” said Benjamin Vrignaud, a 21-year-old protester from Chartres.
“They take everything from us. They steal everything from us,” said 21-yearold Laura Cordonnier.
Macron has condemned violence by protesters at demonstrations.
Macron said in a strongly worded tweet: “Shame on those who attacked (police). Shame on those who were violent against other citizens No place for this violence in the Republic.”
A man throws a bike in a burning truck during a protest against rising oil prices and living costs near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Saturday.