Sunday, 08 December, 2019

Crowdfunding site cuts off cash for 'Yellow Vest boxer'

The boxer punching a police officer YELLOW VESTS A former pro boxer was filmed punching riot police in France
Cary Erickson | 10 January, 2019, 01:57

High cash donations and wide support in social media to Christophe Dettinger, a former French boxing champion filmed hitting anti-riot police officer during a "yellow vest" protest in Paris last weekend, triggered anger of government officials who denounced public support for violence.

The online fundraising platform Leetchi received €114,000 for Christophe Dettinger before the site closed the donation page after politicians expressed outrage on Tuesday. He says he is proud of his country but anxious for his children's future.

"I support honest citizens protesting against a president who governs against his people", Salvini said, while "firmly" condemning recent protest violence.

He admitted he "acted badly" after witnessing brutality against demonstrators. Leetchi said the funds were intended only for legal fees.

Police officers used tear gas to keep the crowd at a distance from the French leader.

Guillaume Kasbarian, a member of Mr Macron's parliamentary majority, tweeted that the crowdfunding was a "moral wreck", shameful at a time when associations struggle to raise money for "more exemplary and humanistic" projects.

"Macron's government is not up to the expectations and some of the policies he is putting forward, particularly at the European level, are even harmful not only to French citizens but also to Europe", the Italian minister said, citing migration issues as a prime example.

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Philippe said on Monday that the government would introduce a "new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare (protests), those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks".

These were dropped in early December and Macron has since offered up further measures to appease protesters, including wage rises for the poorest workers. Ten people have died in incidents at or near roadblocks set up by protesters.

The head of France's employers federation, MEDEF International, warned on Tuesday that footage of the protests would scare off foreign tourists.

However, this was the case of Luigi Di Maio, the Italian deputy prime minister and minister of labour.

The demonstrations shaking France since mid-November had further dented Macron's standing at the end of previous year, with his popularity dropping to record lows amid a backlash that started out as an outcry over planned fuel tax hikes.

The government is also working on ways to put the onus on "the troublemakers, and not taxpayers" to pay for damage to businesses and properties.

The minister believed that the strong cry rising from French streets meant "we want to participate" and that this was the same spirit which has animated the 5-Star Movement since it was formed in 2009.