Yellow Vests protest turn violent – More than 200 arrested

More than 200 people were arrested and dozens were injured in Paris on Saturday after clashes erupted between police and protesters, according to a police spokesman.

French riot police fought running battles with “yellow vest” protesters in the streets of Paris, in the third weekend of nationwide unrest against high living costs that pose one of the gravest challenges of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.

Although with an estimated 36,500 participants across the country they were smaller than those in weeks past, according to the French Interior Ministry. Last week about 53,000 participated, and there were about 113,000 the week before.

Police fired stun grenades, tear gas and water cannon at protesters at the top of the Champs-Elysees boulevard and multiple sites across the city including Opera and Place de la Bastille. More than a dozen metro stations were closed.

The popular rebellion erupted out of nowhere on Nov 17 and has been coordinated via social media, with protesters blocking roads across France and impeding access to shopping malls, factories and some fuel depots. Some are concerned that violent far-right and far-left groups may have infiltrated the movement.

On Saturday, some targeted the Arc de Triomphe and other monuments.

Rising fuel prices are largely attributed to a leap in the wholesale price of oil. Brent crude oil — a benchmark for worldwide oil purchases — increased by more than 20% in the first half of the year, from around $60 a barrel to $86.07 in early October.
But the protests have evolved into a broader demonstration against French President Emmanuel Macron, his government and tensions between the metropolitan elite and rural poor.

 

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