• Friday, Dec 02, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

French 'yellow vests' protest in their thousands for fifth Saturday

  • Published at 12:06 pm December 16th, 2018
Yellow vest movement
Protesters wearing yellow vests react as French police fire tear gas during a demonstration of the 'Yellow Vests' movement in Paris, France, December 15, 2018 Reuters

On Friday, President Macron called for a return to calm in France after nearly a month of protests by the so-called 'yellow vest' movement against his government's policies

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of French cities on Saturday in the fifth weekend of demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron's government, ignoring calls to hold off after a gun attack in Strasbourg this week.

In Paris, police were out in force to contain outbursts of violence. But the demonstrations were noticeably smaller than in previous weeks, possibly a response to the Strasbourg attack or to the cold, rainy weather.

Police fired water cannon and teargas in the afternoon to disperse groups of protesters in sporadic, brief clashes with riot police on the Champs-Elysees and adjacent streets.

Topless feminist activists braved the cold to face off with security forces, a few metres away from the Elysee Palace, the president's residence.

And French media showed footage of clashes between police and protesters in Nantes, western France, and further south in Bordeaux and Toulouse.

The 'yellow vest' movement started in mid-November with protests at junctions and roundabouts against fuel tax increases, but quickly became a wider mobilisation against Macron's economic policies.

Successive weekends of protests in Paris have lead to vandalism and violent clashes with security forces. Despite the protests, several major stores, such as the Galeries Lafayette, opened to lure in Christmas shoppers.

Loic Bollay, 44, marching on the Champs-Elysees in a yellow vest, said the protests were more subdued but the movement would go on until the demonstrators' grievances were addressed.

"Since the Strasbourg attack, it is calmer, but I think next Saturday and the following Saturdays...it will come back."

The Interior Minister said around 69,000 police were active on Saturday with a reinforced presence in Toulouse, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.

Official figures said 66,000 protesters had been counted in France by 1700 GMT, compared to 126,000 at the same time a week before.

In Paris, some 4,000 protesters marched in splintered groups in several neighbourhoods, and at least 168 were arrested, a Paris police official said.

On Friday, President Macron called for a return to calm in France after nearly a month of protests by the so-called 'yellow vest' movement against his government's policies. The demonstrations have hit growth and caused widespread disruption.

"France needs calm, order and a return to normal," Macron said, after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels.

In a televised address on Monday, Macron announced wage rises for the poorest workers and tax cuts for pensioners in further concessions meant to end the movement, but many said they would maintain pressure.

The government, as well as several unions and opposition politicians had called on protesters to stay off the streets, after four people were killed in a gun attack at a Christmas market in the historic city of Strasbourg.


50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail