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Yellow Vest protests: Violence in Paris escalates

Protests by the French Yellow Vest movement in Paris have again led to violence. Right at the beginning of the demonstration on the Champs-Élysées boulevard, dozens of demonstrators threw stones and fireworks at the security forces.

Published: December 2, 2018, 7:56 am

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    According to the French daily Le Figaro, cars were set on fire in the afternoon and burning barricades were erected in several places.

    The authorities mobilized around 5 000 police officers. They used tear gas and water cannons against the protesters. More than 150 people have already been arrested, according to the government.

    Around 60 people were injured, including three policemen. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner spoke of 1 500 violent “troublemakers” who had gathered near the Champs-Élysées. “Our security forces are present and are pushing back the rioters,” Castaner wrote on Twitter.

    These are the most violent protests since the beginning of Macron’s term 18 months ago. For the third weekend in a row, the protest movement in France is demonstrating against rising fuel costs and the government’s reform policy.

    The anger is also directly directed against President Emmanuel Macron and the range of participants in the movement include rightwing as well leftist protesters. Behind the Yellow Vests there is no union and no party.

    On Saturday, around 36 000 people took to the streets across the country, according to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. In Charleville-Mézières in the Ardennes, there were also riots and three arrests on the sidelines of the demonstration.

    “Since this morning, 500 to 600 protesters have committed serious acts of violence and damage to city furniture with fires,” Deputy Prefect of the Ardennes, Marie Cornet, told the AFP News Agency.

    Leader of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, praised Yellow Vests who had formed a human chain to protect the tomb of the unknown soldier against vandals. She urged conservatives to disassociate themselves from leftist thugs.

    The popularity of the movement quickly depleted the stocks of yellow saftey vests in the town of Narbonne.

    The unexpected magnitude of the phenomenon completely took the various stores by surprise, which saw their stocks shrink in just a few days. “We were out of them last week,” says one at the reception of Feu Vert, “But fortunately we were finally able to receive a delivery last Wednesday.

    “Our initial stock of a few tens of vests was stormed quickly. Since then, they are delivered only in small batches because of the difficulties of circulation of the trucks which remain blocked at the tolls because of the protest.”

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