France: Tear gas fired as yellow vests attempt comeback

France: Tear gas fired as yellow vests attempt comeback

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Clashes broke out between protesters and police on the streets of Paris as demonstrators marked the one-year anniversary of France’s yellow vest movement. Tear gas canisters were deployed and scores of arrests made.

Police arrested two dozen people in the French capital on Saturday morning as demonstrators commemorated the one-year anniversary of the sometimes-violent yellow vest protests against President Emmanuel Macron.

In northwest Paris, police dislodged demonstrators trying to block the bypass around the city and fired tear gas to push back protesters who were preparing to march across town towards the Gare d’Austerlitz in the south.

Police said they carried out more than 1,000 checks and arrested 24 people by 10:50 a.m. local time (0950 UTC). 

Demonstrations took place across France on Saturday, which notably occurred around traffic circles where the grassroots yellow vest protest began a year ago.

Yellow vest roadblock in Paris (Reuters/C. Platiau)

Some protesters set up roadblocks in Paris to mark the 1st anniversary of the yellow vest movement

The yellow vest movement, named for the breakdown vests found in french automobiles which the demonstrators wore, began in November 2018 in opposition to a fuel tax, with many protests involving blocking roads and highways.

The demonstrations, which occasionally turned violent, evolved into an anti-government uprising against Macron and his policies seen as favoring the rich. At its peak, the protest drew up to 300,000 people around the country.

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The movement has since lost steam, going from tens of thousands of demonstrators to a few thousand. However, the leaders of the protest called on supporters to re-mobilize on Saturday to celebrate the movement’s first anniversary.

  •  A TIMELINE OF FRANCE’S ‘YELLOW VEST’ PROTESTSMad at MacronSince his election in May 2016, French President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity has fallen steadily thanks to unpopular financial policies, such as ending a wealth tax, and his public manner, which many see as aloof and arrogant. But it was his planned fuel-tax hike, an environmental measure, that really kicked things off. An online video saying Macron is “hounding drivers” goes viral in October.


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