Yellow vest protests hit with police water cannon, tear gas in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – Paris police fired water cannon and tear gas to push again “yellow vest” demonstrators from across the Arc de Triomphe monument on Saturday, in the ninth straight weekend of protests towards French President Emmanuel Macron’s financial reforms.

Thousands of protesters in Paris marched noisily however largely peacefully by way of the Grands Boulevards procuring space in northern Paris, near the place a large gas explosion in a bakery killed two firefighters and a Spanish vacationer and injured practically 50 individuals early on Saturday.

But small teams of demonstrators broke away from the designated route and threw bottles and different projectiles on the police.

Around the 19th-century Arc de Triomphe on the high of the Champs Elysees boulevard, riot police fired water cannon and tear gas at militant yellow-vest protesters after being pelted with stones and paint, witnesses mentioned.

Groups of protesters additionally gathered on and across the Champs Elysees, the scene of disturbances in current weeks, a lot of them calling loudly for Macron to resign.

“Macron, we are going to tear down your place!” one banner learn.

The Interior Ministry mentioned it estimated that there have been 32,000 demonstrators nationwide on Saturday, together with eight,000 in Paris, under the 50,000 counted final week and effectively under the file 282,000 nationwide on Nov. 17, the primary day of yellow vest protests.

But the variety of demonstrators in Paris was effectively above the previous two weekends, when authorities counted simply three,500 individuals on Jan. 5 and solely 800 on Dec. 29.

Protesters carrying yellow vests participate in an indication by the “yellow vests” motion close to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, January 12, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Much of central Paris was in lockdown on the primary week of post-Christmas gross sales with bridges throughout the Seine river closed and official buildings akin to parliament and the Elysee presidential palace protected by police limitations.

In Paris, 121 “gilets jaunes” (yellow vest) have been arrested, some for carrying objects that could possibly be used as weapons, police mentioned. By dusk, there had been no looting or burning of vehicles as seen in earlier weeks.

There have been additionally 1000’s of marchers in the cities of Bordeaux and Toulon in southern France in addition to Strasbourg in the east and the central metropolis of Bourges.

Bourges authorities mentioned practically 5,000 yellow vests caught to the designated demonstration space. The historic metropolis middle was off-limits for demonstrators, however some 500 protesters made their technique to the middle the place they scuffled with police and set rubbish bins on fireplace.

Many companies in Bourges had boarded themselves as much as keep away from harm and authorities had eliminated avenue furnishings and constructing web site supplies that could possibly be used for barricades.

In Strasbourg, as much as 2,000 demonstrators gathered in entrance of the European Parliament constructing and later marched to the middle of the town on the Rhine river border with Germany. No severe violence or looting was reported there.

More than 80,000 police have been on obligation for the protests nationwide, together with 5,000 in Paris.

The “yellow vests” take their title from the high-visibility jackets they put on. Their rage stems from a squeeze on family incomes and a perception that Macron, a former funding banker seen as near huge enterprise, is detached to their hardships.

Slideshow (24 Images)

Macron, usually criticized for a monarchical method, is to launch a nationwide debate on Jan. 15 to attempt to mollify the yellow vest protest, which has shaken his administration.

The debate, to be held on the web and in city halls, will give attention to 4 themes – taxes, inexperienced power, institutional reform and citizenship. But aides to Macron have mentioned altering the course of Macron’s reforms geared toward liberalizing the economic system will probably be off limits.

Additional reporting by Caroline Pailliez, Antony Paone and Emmanuel Jarry in Paris, Claude Canellas in Bordeaux, Mourad Guichard in Bourges and Gilbert Reilhac in Strasbourg; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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