French Police Use Tear Gas Against Protesters in Central Paris
08 December, 2018, 19:29 | Author: Myra Gill
A ring of steel surrounded the Elysee Palace as police stationed trucks and reinforced steel barriers in streets throughout the entire neighbourhood.
The rioting in France has also had an economic impact at the height of the holiday shopping season.
In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower, many shops and museums across Paris, including the Louvre, the Orsay Museum and the Grand Palais, will be shut on Saturday for safety reasons.
The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes, the growing cost of living and other grievances.
Despite the climbdown, the "yellow vests" continue to demand more concessions from the Government, including lower taxes, higher salaries, cheaper energy costs, better retirement provisions and even Mr Macron's resignation. A week ago, protesters stormed, vandalized and defaced the Arc de Triomphe, the 19th-century arch that's one of France's most well-known landmarks.
About 89,000 police were deployed across France on Saturday, some 8,000 of them in Paris.
Police frisked people or searched bags every hundred meters or so throughout central Paris, and confiscated gas masks and protective goggles from Associated Press journalists.
Yellow Vest mayhem has hit the country for the 4th consecutive weekend.
Police posted a video on Twitter of officers tackling a protester and confiscating his risky material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.
Heavily armed French police deployed tear gas and stun grenades against an army of Yellow Vests gathered in central Paris demanding Emmanuel Macron's head.
They threw paving stones, fireworks, flares and other objects at police.
He said the protests had "created a monster" and vowed a zero-tolerance approach by police to violence.
Police barred some provincial "yellow vest" protesters from boarding trains to Paris in an effort to prevent a repeat of last week's rioting.
Some could be held in the city centre on what is a major Christmas shopping weekend.
Authorities say the protests have been hijacked by far-right and anarchist elements bent on violence and stirring up social unrest in a direct affront to Macron and the security forces.
More than 30 people have been reported injured in the riots which have seen cars, bins and wooden shutters set on fire.
"According to the information we have, some radicalized and rebellious people will try to get mobilized tomorrow", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told a news conference Friday.
"The troublemakers can only be effective when they disguise themselves as yellow vests".
Four people have been killed in accidents since the protests began on November 7.
Shops, museums, metro stations and the Tour Eiffel were due to close, while top-flight football matches and music shows were cancelled.
Workers hammered plywood over the windows of shops and businesses, making the plush Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear to be bracing for a hurricane.
Paris police, fearing that radical protesters could turn street furniture and construction materials into makeshift weapons, on Friday were removing all glass containers, railings and construction machines in high-risk areas.
Protesters have also blocked roads, roundabouts and tollbooths elsewhere in France.
Around 100 people were arrested on Saturday in the Belgian capital Brussels during copycat yellow vest demonstrations rocking neighbouring France, police said.
Earlier in the day, police used tear gas against protesters amid reports that at least 700 of them were detained by law enforcement bodies in the French capital.
The protesters gathered in two districts of the city - Arts Lois and Porte de Namur - but there were no incidents of violence.
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