Macron mulls state of emergency to curb riots

Edouard Philippe arrives to announce the suspension on rising fuel taxes in Paris Dec. 4 2018 a few days after the protests by the yellow vest movement

Edouard Philippe arrives to announce the suspension on rising fuel taxes in Paris Dec. 4 2018 a few days after the protests by the yellow vest movement

New figures released from the Paris police service showed that 412 people were arrested on Saturday during the worst clashes for years in the capital and 378 were still in custody.

Police work around the message, "The Yellow Vests will Triumph" written on the Arc de Triomphe, the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher diesel taxes, in Paris, on December 2, 2018. Hours later, cars still smoldered and law enforcement and protesters were still facing off elsewhere in the capital.

"Yellow vests" demonstrators wave Breton and French flags in front of the Arc de Triomphe, which was completely destroyed inside.

Vandalized statue of the Marianne, a symbol in France, seen inside the Arc de Triomphe, after protesters wearing entered monument during clashes.

Some 5,000 police and gendarmes were being deployed Saturday in a replica of the previous Saturday's chaos when Parisians smashed up shops and restaurants and battled riot squads in the first round of major protests. Tourists, some with suitcases, also got caught up in the protests, finding themselves at the centre of the demonstrations.

French interior ministry said around 75,000 people took part in the protests.

Macron paid tribute to the Unknown Soldier from World War I whose tomb is under the monument.

Speaking at Paris police headquarters, Mr Philippe said more than 5,000 protesters were on and around the Champs-Elysees avenue. Pockets of demonstrators built makeshift barricades in the middle of Paris streets, lit fires, sprayed graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe and fire to cars and trash cans.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a post on Twitter she was "indignant" about the violence, and said "our country is faced with a profound crisis which can only be resolved by dialogue".

The "yellow vests" erupted out of nowhere on November 17 and spread quickly via social media, with protesters blocking roads across France and impeding access to shopping malls, factories, and some fuel depots.

David Michaux, of the UNSA police union, said far-right and far-left groups were expected at the protests.

Former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka advised French President Emmanuel Macron to learn a thing or two from President Trump as violent protests continued over the weekend in response to Macron's gas tax hike.

In Paris, police said they had arrested nearly 300 people while 110 were injured, including 20 members of the security forces. They marched on the famed avenue behind a big banner writing "Macron, stop taking us for stupid people".

All subway stations in and around the famous avenue were closed for security reasons, Paris public transport company RATP said. "The fact that the protests have reached the heart of the Champs-Élysées has given the protesters a push themselves to keep going on", Diab said.

"We're anxious that small groups of rioters that aren't yellow vests will infiltrate (the demonstration) to fight security forces and challenge the authority of the state", said Denis Jacob, Secretary General of the Alternative Police union.

"Our purchasing power is severely diminishing every day".

Rémy Heitz, Paris prosecutor, said: "The unacceptable actions committed in Paris will not go unpunished". "The state is asking us to tighten our belts, but they, on the contrary, live totally above all standards with our money".

Facebook Groups claiming to represent the Gilets Jaunes movement have also distanced themselves from the violence this weekend, but have called for more protests next Saturday.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.