Author Topic: 1000s of police on guard as Yellow Vests hit streets in France for 10th week  (Read 154 times)

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Offline Rudi Jan

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1000s of police on guard as Yellow Vests hit streets in France for 10th week in a row

Published time: 19 Jan, 2019 12:16
Edited time: 19 Jan, 2019 17:16
source: https://www.rt.com/news/449190-yellow-vest-protests-act10/


Yellow Vest protesters during a rally in Paris, January 19, 2019. © Zakaria Abdelkafi

For the 10th week in a row, Yellow Vest protesters filled the streets of Paris and other cities in France, with thousands of police standing guard. Earlier, President Emmanuel Macron launched his “national debates” on the crisis.

Around 27,000 people had joined the protests across the country by midday on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said. In Paris, the Yellow Vest occupied the Champs-Elysees and the Esplanade des Invalides near the nation’s parliament. People were seen waving national flags and setting off firecrackers.

Some protesters brought cardboard coffins, in memory of the people who have died since the beginning of the protests (the majority was killed in traffic accidents during road blockades). They marched under a large banner reading “Citizens in danger.”

The law enforcers used water cannons to disperse some of the protesters in Paris. At least, 20 protestors were arrested in the capital for carrying illegal items, BFMTV reported citing the police.

The Yellow Vest processions took place in Caen and Rouen, both in northern France. The rallies were also held in Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Toulon, Dijon, Beziers, Avignon, among other places.

The authorities deployed 5,000 police officers in Paris, and 80,000 nationwide, according to local media.

Armored police cars were filmed moving through the streets of the southern city of Toulouse. There were also reports of armored vehicles stationed in the capital.

Twelve people have been detained in Paris for carrying weapons, police told BFMTV. They were apprehended during “random checks.” But overall, the rallies in the capital have so far remained peaceful, police said.

Some protesters carried placards, reading "Freedom, Equality, Flash-Ball," referring to the type of ‘less-lethal’ guns used by law enforcement to quell the protests. The placards also contained pictures of Marianne – a national symbol of liberty – with an injured eye. That was apparently an allusion to a high-publicized incident in December when a young woman was hit in the eye by a projectile the activists say was fired from a Flash-Ball.

The Yellow Vest protests began in November as a movement against planned fuel tax hikes, but eventually grew to include wider demands, including the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron and his government.

Previous rallies have seen violent clashes with police. There have been injuries on both sides, and over 1,000 people have been detained in connection to the unrest, which has at times spilled out into street battles.

Saturday’s rallies take place days after President Emmanuel Macron launched“grand national debates,” a series of public discussions about the government’s policies. He hopes the debates will help in reaching a compromise with the protesters, but many have expressed skepticism regarding the format and intentions. As a result, some protesters appeared with placards denouncing the debates as a “scam.”

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