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Yellow Vests. Screenshot from Facebook

Macron goes skiing as violence dominates Act XVII of Yellow Vests

While the French presidential couple was in the mountains to "relax" this weekend, Emmanuel Macron nevertheless decided to shorten his stay, as violent clashes continued during Act XVIII of the Yellow Vests.

Published: March 17, 2019, 8:10 am

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    The art of timing, as demonstrated by Emmanuel Macron: With violence raging on the streets, the President of the Republic and his wife Brigitte decided to spend the weekend at the station of La Mongie (Haute-Pyrenees), reported La Depeche and France 3.

    But according to BFMTV, the head of state will return sooner to face the crisis, as criticism mounts against Macron for insensitive to the ongoing protests.

    The presidential couple has just returned from a trip to Kenya, But they were seen on Friday, March 15 by skiers, on the slopes and lifts. The press was kept away from the couple by the security services.

    The president skied all morning, before stopping at l’Etape du Berger meeting one of his childhood friends, Eric Abadie. “I will spend two or three days here to recharge my batteries, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” he told La Depeche. “You have to know where you come from. I am happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was difficult at Christmas. But there are people here, and Eric is an example, people who want to make things happen,” he continued before returning to the slopes.

    This ski weekend obviously did not go unnoticed, and neither did the bad timing. Nadine Morano blasted the “behavior of the president”.

    Act XVIII of the movement saw scenes of violence and public degradation, but also a higher mobilization. The French capital has been in the grip of violent clashes especially around the Champs-Elysees, reported Le Parisien.

    According to the latest figures from the Ministry of the Interior, 32 300 people demonstrated throughout France, including 10 000 in Paris. This figure is up from the previous act on Saturday, March 9, which had counted 28 600 protesters.

    In the early evening, the police headquarters reported 237 arrests in the capital. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the Minister of the Interior visited the security forces mobilized to provide support.

    The Prime Minister expressed his “very great anger” at the violence and ruled that “those who excuse it, encourage it” and are “accomplices”.

    The famous restaurant Fouquet’s located on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, was stormed late in the morning. The windows were broken and a lot of damage was done inside. A fire even broke out briefly on one of the tables of the restaurant. Some Yellow Vests even posed in front of the devastated establishment for a souvenir photo.

    Earlier in the day, clashes erupted between police and protesters, in the same neighborhood. Several gendarmerie vehicles were violently attacked by hooded individuals.

    Several stores and banks were also targeted at the beginning of the day. In particular, a bank was burned on Roosevelt Avenue, and a woman and her baby were saved from the flames by the arrival of firefighters. Eleven people were lightly injured.

    The Ministry of the Interior Christophe Castaner urged firmness towards the violent demonstrators, and denounced “professionals sowing the disorder”. He asked the police chief to respond “with the utmost firmness”.

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