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100s detained, tear gas fired: Yellow Vest mayhem hits Paris on 4th weekend

Published: December 8, 2018
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Source: RT

French police fired the first batches of tear gas on Saturday as massive crowds of Yellow Vest protesters swarmed into the heart of the capital on the 4th weekend of unrest. Hundreds were detained prior to and at the rally.

Police detained at least 700 people across the country, including 575 in Paris, during the rallies, Secretary of State to the Interior Minister Laurent Nunez confirmed, as cited by French media. The official added that a total of 31,000 people have been demonstrating in France.

The rally on the iconic Champs-Elysees avenue turned violent right after 10:00 am (local time). Videos from the area show people coughing and sneezing after tear gas canisters were fired into the lines of demonstrators.

 

Several hours into the protests, trucks armed with water cannon arrived in the heart of the capital.

The violence unfolded in the capital as several Yellow Vest protesters built barricades in the city centre and set them on fire.

 

Beefing up its presence, law enforcement also deployed armored vehicles belonging to the French Gendarmerie – the military police. The hardware was stationed right next to the Arc de Triomphe,which last week saw one of the fiercest battles between police and rioters.

 

This is the fourth consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vests protests, with levels of violence between police and demonstrators that has not been seen in decades. Last week, the unrest peaked again, resulting in over 400 arrests. Scores of people were also injured during the heavy-handed police response. Officers also suffered injuries while trying to handle the situation.

The French government says for now it has abandoned the plans for fuel price hikes and a higher tax, which triggered the rallies. The unrest, however, is still far from losing steam. The demonstrators are billing their action on Saturday as “Act IV. Stay on the course” and are demanding more concessions, including lower taxes, a higher minimum wage and for some even the resignation of Emmanuel Macron.

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The gilets jaunes (Yellow Jacket) anti-tax riots in France escalated over the past weekend, again citing the impact of higher taxes on fossil fuels – and high levels of taxation in general – on everyday life. French citizens, already subject to the highest taxes in the OECD, are being crushed by both new and systematically increasing taxes, and have taken to the streets by the hundreds of thousands in a “citizen’s revolution”. Recommendations to declare a state of emergency have for the time being been tabled.

French President Emmanuel Macron may institute emergency tax cuts in an attempt to stem violent protests which have gripped France for three weeks, according to Bloomberg.

Rioters ran amok across central Paris on Saturday, torching cars and buildings, looting shops, smashing windows and clashing with police in the worst unrest in more than a decade, posing a dire challenge to Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.

French police deployed tear gas after thousands of "yellow vest" activists converged on the the Champs Élysées for a third week of protests against President Emmanuel Macron and his government. Over 122 arrests have been made.

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