Protests 'a crisis' for France as 1700 arrests made

Posted December 13, 2018

The demonstrations were widely covered by Turkish media, which also repeatedly broadcast the video of high school students forced to kneel with their hands behind their heads by police officers in Mantes-la-Jolie, a western suburb of Paris. "Ah!"

The yellow vest movement, named for the security jackets donned by the protesters, began a month ago as protests over a proposal to raise taxes on fuel, but has since developed into an expression of general anger at high living costs and particular discontent with President Emmanuel Macron, seen by some as elitist.

"We face people who do not come to protest but to destroy", he said. A ring of steel surrounded the Elysee Palace itself as police stationed trucks and reinforced steel barriers in streets throughout the entire neighborhood.

"This chaos has to end", said Andre Juillard, a doctor, as he stood in line with other tired Parisians at a bakery near the Eiffel Tower, which reopened along with other monuments and museums after closing for security reasons on Saturday.

Demonstrators, many dressed in yellow vests, faced riot police in Paris and cities across France on Saturday, throwing stones, burning cars and destroying urban furniture and shop windows in a fourth weekend of unrest.

In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower, many shopping plazas across the country, including the Louvre, Orsay Museum and the Grand Palais, are closed for safety reasons.

A few dozen demonstrators wearing the movement's signature neon vests gathered before dawn Saturday near the Arc de Triomphe, which was damaged in last week's rioting. The police continues to conduct preventive checks and to detain protesters. As many as 2,000 people were arrested, a record in the history of France for one day.

On Dec 5, Mr Macron announces that all planned fuel tax hikes for 2019 will be scrapped.

In a joint press briefing with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Saturday, the Minister added that 974 individuals remained in police custody, and that the figure could rise.

"We are here to tell (Macron) our discontent", said protester Myriam Diaz. But foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian today hit back by telling Mr Trump not to meddle in French politics.

"But I still want to be here to say "stop, that's enough, this has to stop".

There are concerns the protests could lead to a drop in tourism. The authorities in the city say that riots have caused millions of pounds of damage.

President Macron made an unannounced visit Friday night to a group of anti-riot security officers outside Paris to thank them for their work. Christmas markets, national soccer matches and countless other events have been canceled due to the protests. They also asked construction companies in the city not to leave building materials on streets.

Protesters also blocked roads, roundabouts and tollbooths elsewhere in France and offshoot movements have emerged in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Anti-riot police used a water cannon during clashes with "yellow vest" (Gilet Jaune) protesters during a demonstration late last month near major European Union buildings in Brussels.