French police clash with 'yellow vest' protesters in Paris

By Reuters    December 8, 2018 | 09:46 pm GMT+7
French police clash with 'yellow vest' protesters in Paris
French riot police fired tear gas and clashed with “yellow vest” protesters in central Paris on Saturday during the latest in a wave of demonstrations.

French riot police fired tear gas and clashed with “yellow vest” protesters in central Paris on Saturday.

This is the latest in a wave of demonstrations against the high cost of living that have shaken President Emmanuel Macron’s authority.

Authorities said 575 people had been searched and briefly arrested and 361 people of them remained in custody after police found potential weapons such as hammers, baseball bats and metal petanque balls on them.

Hundreds of protesters were milling around the Arc de Triomphe monument, which was defaced with anti-Macron graffiti last Saturday, when rioters also torched dozens of cars and looted shops in the worst rioting in Paris since May 1968.

A police spokeswoman told reporters there were about 1,500 protesters on the Champs Elysees boulevard. Large groups of people spilled into other areas and heading to eastern Paris, where a march against climate change was scheduled for the afternoon. Some also temporarily blocked the ring road circling central Paris.

"We took the train for 11 hours just to protest today. We feel scorned by these technocrats that govern us," said Gilles Noblet, a demonstrator from the southwest region of Ariege.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe appealed for restraint.

"We will do all we can so that today can be a day without violence, so that the dialogue that we started this week can continue in the best possible circumstances," he said on French television.

On Tuesday, Philippe announced the government was suspending planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months to help defuse weeks of protests, the first U-turn by Macron since he came to power 18 months ago.

About 89,000 police were deployed across France on Saturday, some 8,000 of them in Paris.

 
 
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