Over 700 arrested in Paris amid violent fuel protests

World       by Mahmood Idrees | Published

World by Mahmood Idrees | Published

Despite the security clampdown clashes broke out in several cities across the country, including Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon and Toulouse, during a fourth weekend of protests against rising living costs and the embattled French President Emmanuel Macron.

Early Saturday itself, 278 people were detained in Paris as the French capital braced for another weekend of violence during protests by the yellow vest anti-government movement.

In Paris, protesters were mostly contained to the Champs-Elysees and surrounding avenues, such as avenue Marceau and boulevard de Courcelles, as well as near the Opera district.

Parts of Paris were placed in lockdown, with tourist attractions including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre closed and shops along the Champs-Elysees boarded up. Much of the city centre was looted, damaged and vandalised.

"And if Macron fails the future of France risks looking like the presidency of Italy today".

They have also acknowledged various other concerns of the French people since the beginning of the protests.

"His comments about the French protests are completely out of character typically for a sitting U.S. president", said Michael Geary of the Wilson Institute's Global Europe Program. "I ask the yellow vests that want to bring about a peaceful message to not go with the violent people".

An even larger environmental march moved peacefully Saturday toward the city's distant Republique Plaza.

Place de la Republique in Paris, showing a sign reading "Give the money back".

The march came in support of United Nations climate talks taking place in Poland.

Authorities said 575 people had been searched and briefly arrested and 361 people of them remained in custody after police found potential weapons such as hammers, baseball bats and metal petanque balls on them.

Some 8,000 police officers will be on duty in Paris and armored vehicles will also be deployed, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told French television station TF1 Thursday.

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France's yellow vest protesters include people with views that range from the far right to the far left.

Emmanuel Macron has been the target of many protesters' anger over his perceived pro-rich policies.

"We are here to tell (Macron) our discontent".

Since becoming president in January 2017, he has pulled the United States out of the worldwide Paris Agreement on attempting to bring down global temperatures, and torn up a raft of environmental protection laws, saying the USA economy needs the boost.

US conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh also made the claim in a broadcast Monday, in which he lauded the demonstrators for their support for the president.

Cyril, a garbage truck driver in Normandy who earns 1,430 euros ($1,625) a month, said Macron's mistake was trying to reform France too quickly.

Protesters who came to Paris from Normandy described seeing officers block yellow-vested passengers from boarding public transportation at stops along their route.

But he added that Mr Macron would make "important announcements".

"He's done more in 18 months than the others in 30 years".

Protesters also blocked roads, roundabouts and tollbooths elsewhere in France.

Trump had on Saturday posted two tweets referring to the "yellow vest" anti-government protests that have swept France since mid-November and sparked rioting in Paris.

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