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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/24/paris-police-fire-tear-gas-yellow-vest-protesters-marching-elysee/

 

Riots on the Champs-Elysées as 'yellow vest' fuel protesters march in Paris

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Police fire tear gas at 'yellow vest' fuel protesters in Paris
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24 NOVEMBER 2018 • 10:42PM
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Rioting erupted on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday as police fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of demonstrators protesting against fuel tax increases and President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms.

The bottom of the Arc de Triomphe was obscured by clouds of tear gas while “yellow vest” demonstrators set fire to a trailer and barricades on Paris’s most famous avenue. They chanted “Macron démission” (Macron resign) and some sang the U2 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, about the shooting of protesters in Northern Ireland in 1972.

Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, accused Marine Le Pen, the far-Right leader, of encouraging her supporters to clash with police. “The ultra-Right is mobilised and is building barricades on the Champs-Elysées,” he said. Ms Le Pen, who has backed the protests, said: “I never called for any violence whatsoever.”

Mr Castaner blamed the clashes on a minority of “casseurs” (troublemakers) who hurled rocks and bottles at police while most of the protesters demonstrated peacefully.

The authorities said about 8,000 people took to the streets of Paris, 5,000 of whom gathered on the Champs-Elysées. Some 3,000 police were deployed in Paris and thousands more outside the capital. 

A fire rages as men wearing yellow vests protest against rising fuel prices on the Champs-Elysees
A fire rages as men wearing yellow vests protest against rising fuel prices on the Champs-ElyseesCREDIT:  GETTY 

The “yellow vests” — so-called because they wear high-visibility jackets — are part of a grassroots movement that began as a fuel tax revolt but now encompasses broader grievances over the high cost of living.

 

Mr Macron justifies the tax increases, which have caused diesel prices to rise by 23 per cent over the past 12 months, as an anti-pollution measure. Only about a third of Parisians own cars, but the hikes have provoked fury in rural areas and smaller towns less well served by public transport.

A protester gestures during a "Yellow vest" protest against higher fuel prices during clashes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris
A protester gestures during a "Yellow vest" protest against higher fuel prices during clashes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris CREDIT: BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

Across France, the demonstrations attracted less support than similar protests last weekend, when roads and motorways were blocked by more than a quarter of a million “yellow vests” . The interior ministry said 81,000 protesters joined the demonstrations yesterday on Saturday.

The unrest represents a major challenge for the beleaguered centrist president, whose approval ratings have plummeted below 30 per cent. Opinion polls suggest that more than three-quarters of French people sympathise with the protests.

A man wearing goggles as he shouts after being sprayed by the the police water cannon as they protest against rising fuel prices
A man wearing goggles as he shouts after being sprayed by the the police water cannon as they protest against rising fuel prices CREDIT:  GETTY/ CHESNOT

Patrick Perez, 42, a demonstrator from the south-west, said: “Macron has to understand that Paris is not France.”

Sylvie Poireau, 46, from a small town outside Paris, said: “We’re made to pay higher taxes while they’ve scrapped the wealth tax on the rich. My daughter’s handicapped and I struggle at the end of every month to buy food.”

Opposition parties are trying to tap into the discontent, but the “yellow vests” have no unified leadership or political orientation.

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, build a barricade during clashes on the Champs-Elysees
Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, build a barricade during clashes on the Champs-Elysees CREDIT: BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-Left leader, said: “History shows that when taxes are not accepted, that starts revolutions in France.”

 

Police arrested 42 people on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday and 20 were injured, including four police officers. One protester received a serious hand injury. Several shops were vandalised during the protests on the famed boulevard.

A journalist was reportedly assaulted by protesters in Saint-Etienne du Rouvray, northern France.

Mr Macron tweeted: “Shame on those who attacked other citizens and journalists... No place for violence in the Republic.”

The interior ministry said more than 106,000 protesters took part in the demonstrations across France and 130 were arrested, including  the 42 in Paris.

Over the past week of protests, two people have been killed in accidents and more than 700 injured including 136 police officers.

“This is going to start a civil war and we’re ready for it," said François Lebrun, 25, a protester from Orléans. 

 

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Usually we know how to get the message through to the government.

Although I dont approve the hooligan part, but it is unavoidable.

 

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1 hour ago, Thai Spice said:

Usually we know how to get the message through to the government.

Although I dont approve the hooligan part, but it is unavoidable.

 

I wish us Brits had your passion about shite gvernmt policy

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