French police fire tear gas at "Yellow Vests" protesters in Paris

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/12/8 21:03:38

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at "Yellow Vests" protesters marching in Paris on Saturday in the fourth week-end action despite President Emmanuel Macron's series of concessions.

First scuffles broke out at around 10:30 local time (09:30 GMT) in Arsene Houssaye street, near the Place de L'Etoile where police officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd who tried to force police blockade.

Waving tricolor flags, people angry at Macron's economic policy and a series of reforms which they say undermine the income of the middle-class workers, chanted "Macron resign," despite of measures of appeasement the government announced earlier this week, including the removal of a planned rise in fuel tax that inspired the social uprising.

According to Paris prefecture, 1,500 demonstrators flocked to Champs Elysees early Saturday, amid tough security measures.

About 89,000 police were deployed across the country. In Paris, 8,000 were mobilized to avoid last Saturday's outburning of violence when 3,000 troublemakers mixed with peaceful protesters vandalized Parisian streets and defaced the emblematic monument of the Arc de Triomphe.

In a brief declaration, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Saturday morning that 481 individuals have already been detained in Paris, with 211 remained into custody, suspected of hijacking the protest to commit violent acts.

"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," Philippe added.

At pre-Christmas shopping, dozens of streets in the French capital were closed to traffic, while the Eiffel Tower and museums such as the Louvre were also closed.

Metal barriers and plywood boards were erected on the glass-fronted facades of restaurants and boutiques on fears of "great violence."

With no leader, "Yellow Vests" movement which got its name from the high visibility vests drivers keep in their cars, was created on social media. When they began on Nov. 17, protests were against a rise in carbon tax which the French president says is necessary to combat climate change.

They have since turned into a bigger uprising denouncing a squeeze on household spending, high living costs caused by the president's fiscal and economic policy which they say favors the rich. Some of them asked Macron to step down.

Under nationwide pressure, Macron's government has decided to drop further fuel tax hikes in 2019 and indicated that all tax-related policies would be periodically evaluated.

Posted in: EUROPE

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