Friday, 14 December, 2018

Over 350 detained as Paris braces for 'yellow vest' protest violence

Protesters wearing yellow vests walk on the Champs Elysees Avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in the background during a national day of protest by the French troops deployed in Paris amid ‘yellow vest’ protest
Ginger Lawrence | 08 December, 2018, 18:24

National police estimated the number of protesters in Paris on Saturday at 8,000, among 31,000 protesters nationwide.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that 89,000 security forces will be mobilized on Saturday, with 8,000 policemen deployed in Paris alone, as well as a dozen armored vehicles.

Dramatic photographs offer a snapshot into the volatile atmosphere surrounding the streets of France at present, as "yellow vests" continue to demand more concessions from the government following Macron's U-turn on the fuel tax.

Clad in their luminous road safety jackets, dozens of demonstrators - who accuse President Emmanuel Macron of only looking out for the rich - gathered at dawn on the Champs-Elysees, the scene last Saturday of the worst rioting in Paris for decades.

Climate marches were organised all throughout France on Saturday.

On November 30, a "yellow vest" protest by some 300 people in Brussels degenerated into violence in which two police vehicles were torched.

Mr Macron, who has not spoken in public since he condemned last Saturday's disturbances while at the G20 summit in Argentina, will address the nation early next week, his office said.

Shops and tourist destinations, including the Eiffel Tower, were closed and soccer matches were canceled as authorities looked to maintain order.

"This movement has revealed how millions of French people live", said Jacline Mouraud, whose YouTube tirade in October over rising fuel prices propelled her to the fore of the revolt.

Some 8,000 police were deployed, carrying out checks on people arriving at train stations and at protest hotspots such as the Champs-Elysees and Bastille monument.

However, protests have erupted over other issues, such as the need for higher wages, lower taxes, easier university requirements, better pensions and even President Emmanuel Macron's resignation.

French gendarmes apprehend a protester during clashes at a demonstration by the
France gears up to face new riots; Paris shuts down

The climbdown over the fuel tax - meant to help France move to a greener economy - marks a major shift for Mr Macron, who has previously vowed not to be swayed, like previous presidents, by large street protests.

Authorities have detained 343 people on Saturday amid exceptional security measures.

They threw paving stones, fireworks, flares and other objects at police.

Fearing last weekend's violence, the French Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, said on Monday that the event should be postponed but the organisers made a decision to go ahead with it, reported French media. The city subway system was shut down in the centre of town. By mid-afternoon, more than 700 people had been stopped and questioned, and more than 400 were being held in custody, according to a Paris police spokeswoman.

"We are not here to destroy Paris, we are here to tell Macron we are f-king fed up", said one protester before the clashes with the police began, adding that the people are protesting ever-increasing taxes on the working class.

But the yellow vests, many of whom who have become increasingly radicalised, are holding out for more.

But the movement has no clear leaders, and past protests have attracted extremists who hurled projectiles at police.

Peaceful yellow-vest protests have also began in the Netherlands. "Some ultra-violent people want to take part".

Weapons have also been confiscated from Yellow Vest protestors including items such as paving stones, slingshots, hammers and other items that have been deemed weapons.

Can Macron survive the biggest challenge to his presidency?

The protesters began blocking roads, fuel depots and shopping centres around France on November 17 over soaring petrol prices that have hit people in the provinces who get around by vehicle.

Numbers for the B.C. government's climate change plan
The upcoming budget will be a "litmus test" that will show if the money is there to meet the goals of the plan, Woynillowicz said. Some of this can be accomplished by increasing the amount of renewable fuel that is blended with liquid fuels.