Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | ePaper

Nearly 300 detained as Paris braces for ‘yellow vest’ protests

  • Print


Some 89,000 police were being mobilized nationwide, with a dozen armored vehicles deployed in Paris for the first time in decades.

AFP, Paris :
Paris police detained nearly 300 people Saturday ahead of fresh anti-government "yellow vest" protests which authorities fear could turn violent for a third weekend in a row.
Clad in their luminous road safety jackets, dozens of demonstrators - who accuse President Emmanuel Macron of only looking out for the rich - gathered at dawn on the Champs-Elysees, the scene last Saturday of the worst rioting in Paris for decades.
"We had to come to Paris to be heard," said protester Herve Benoit, arriving with three friends from the Dordogne in western France.
He called on the government to boost people's spending power and increase taxes on the wealthiest. By 8.40 am (0740 GMT) police had already detained 278 people.
Some 8,000 police were deployed, carrying out checks on people arriving at train stations and at protest hotspots such as the Champs-Elysees and Bastille monument.
A source close to the operation told AFP that at least 34 people were arrested for carrying masks, hammers, slingshots and rocks that could be used to attack police.
Shops, museums, the Eiffel Tower and many metro stations were closed as much of the city-centre went on effective lockdown. Top-flight football matches and concerts were cancelled.
Last weekend's violence, which saw some 200 cars torched and the Arc de Triomphe vandalised, shook France and plunged Macron's government into its deepest crisis so far.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said he expected "only a few thousand people" to descend on Paris after the 8,000 protesters counted last weekend, "but among them are ultraviolent individuals".
"These past three weeks have produced a monster that its creators no longer control," Castaner said, vowing "zero tolerance" towards those aiming to wreak further destruction.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday evening met a delegation of self-described "moderate" yellow vests who have urged people not to join the protests.
After the meeting a spokesman from the movement, Christophe Chalencon, said Philippe had "listened to us and promised to take our demands to the president".
"Now we await Mr Macron. I hope he will speak to the people of France as a father, with love and respect and that he will take strong decisions," he said.
Philippe said some 89,000 police were being mobilised nationwide, with a dozen armoured vehicles deployed in Paris for the first time in decades.
·    'Keep a low profile' -

Shops around the Champs-Elysees boulevard boarded up their windows and
emptied them of merchandise on Friday, while the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and
other museums were shut.
Department stores were also staying closed due to the risk of looting on what would normally be a busy shopping weekend in the run-up to Christmas.
Foreign governments are watching developments closely in one of the world's most visited cities.
The US embassy issued a warning to Americans in Paris to "keep a low profile and avoid crowds", while Belgium, Portugal and the Czech Republic advised citizens planning to visit Paris over the weekend to postpone their visit.
In a warning of impending violence, an MP for Macron's party, Benoit Potterie, received a bullet in the post on Friday with the words: "Next time it will be between your eyes."
Calls on social media for protesters to attack the police or march on the presidential palace have especially rattled the authorities.

More News For this Category

Pope urges concrete measures to protect Syrian civilians

Pope urges concrete measures to protect Syrian civilians

AP, Vatican City :Pope Francis has sent Syrian President Bashar Assad a letter expressing his "profound concern" for the humanitarian situation in Syria and in particular the plight of civilians

Iran to meet with nuclear partners amid tanker crisis

Iran to meet with nuclear partners amid tanker crisis

AFP, Tehran  :Iran said Tuesday it will attend an urgent meeting with countries still party to the troubled nuclear deal, as it declared itself the "guardian of security" in the

Trump praises Pakistan's role in ‘progress’ on Afghan peace

Trump praises Pakistan's role in ‘progress’ on Afghan peace

President Donald Trump on Monday hailed Pakistan's help in advancing peace talks in Afghanistan, a marked shift in tone as the United States seeks an accord with the Taliban to

Airstrikes kill 50 civilians in Syria's northwest

Airstrikes kill 50 civilians in Syria's northwest

AFP, Maaret al-Numan (Syria) : Regime and Russian air strikes killed 50 people in northwest Syria on Monday, most of them in a crowded market, a war monitor said, in the

‘South Korea fired hundreds of shots at Russian jet in its airspace’

‘South Korea fired hundreds of shots at Russian jet in its airspace’

Reuters, Seoul  :South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, defence officials in Seoul said, with Chinese bombers

News In Brief

UAE not leaving war-torn Yemen despite drawdownAFP, DubaiThe United Arab Emirates, part of a Saudi-led military coalition, is not leaving war-torn Yemen despite an ongoing drawdown and redeployment of Emirati

Anger soars over vicious mob attack on Hong Kong protesters

Anger soars over vicious mob attack on Hong Kong protesters

AFP :Anger soared in Hong Kong on Monday over a vicious assault on pro-democracy protesters by suspected triad gangsters that left dozens wounded, a dramatic escalation of the political turmoil

UK leadership favourite Johnson hits more turmoil on last voting day

UK leadership favourite Johnson hits more turmoil on last voting day

AFP :Britain's leadership contest entered its finale Monday with the favourite Boris Johnson facing more defections from ministers over his Brexit plan.The month-long contest between former London mayor Johnson and

Zelensky party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine

Zelensky party heads for absolute majority in Ukraine

AFP :Ukraine's comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky is set to control an absolute majority in parliament, ushering in a generational shift in the ex-Soviet country's political arena.The 41-year-old became Ukraine's youngest ever

Israeli forces surround demolition-threatened Palestinian homes

AFP . Jerusalem :Israeli forces surrounded a number of Palestinian homes it considers illegal south of Jerusalem early Monday, an AFP journalist saw, ahead of expected demolitions that have drawn