Clashes as yellow vest protests grow in Belgium, Netherlands

09 December, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Demonstrators clash with police during the

Writing on Twitter, the president claimed, falsely, that the protests had been inspired by his opposition to the Paris climate accord and the phrase "We want Trump" rang out on the streets.

Riot police run next to a auto set on fire during a protest on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris.

Shouts of "Macron, resign" mingled with tear gas as thousands gathered on the famous Champs-Elysees avenue, and thick plumes of black smoke from fires rose high into the sky.

Mr Macron's government warned that Saturday's "yellow vest" protests in Paris will be hijacked by "radicalised and rebellious" crowds and become the most risky yet after three weeks of demonstrations.

Some protesters Saturday attempted to block the Porte Maillot dual carriageway, which is a toll-free route into Paris.

Dominic Blaise, a 57-year-old aeronautics engineer from the Paris suburbs, came the demonstration with his son.

Amid the melee, President Emmanuel Macron remained invisible and silent, as he has for the four weeks of a movement that started as a protest against a gas tax hike and metamorphosed into a rebellion against high taxes, eroding living standards and what many see as his inability to address the concerns of France's regions and ordinary people. A police spokeswoman said there were around 1,500 protestors, and 211 have been arrested after police found weapons.

Police carried out checks on people arriving at the capital's train stations, confiscating items that could be used as projectiles as well as surgical masks and goggles used to protect against the effects of tear gas.

More than 106,000 demonstrators are recorded across France, including 8,000 in Paris.

In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower, many shops and museums across Paris, including the Louvre, the Orsay Museum and the Grand Palais, will keep their doors shut on Saturday for safety reasons.

This weekend, six matches in the top tier of France's football league were postponed.

"These past three weeks have produced a monster that its creators no longer control", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Friday, vowing "zero tolerance" towards those aiming to wreak further destruction.


"I ask the yellow vests that want to bring about a peaceful message to not go with the violent people".

Mr Macron said his motivation for the increase was environmental, but protesters accused him of being out of touch.

Authorities are deploying barricade-busting armored vehicles and 8,000 police in the capital alone; nationwide, some 89,000 security forces fanned out to deter or confront troublemakers expected at multiple protests.

Workers hammered plywood over the windows of shops and businesses, making the plush Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear to be bracing for a hurricane.

Department stores were also 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.

His tweets came in the middle of UN climate talks in Poland, where almost 200 nations have gathered to agree on a universal rulebook to make good on promises they signed up to in the 2015 Paris climate deal to cap global warming at well under two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).

He called for more communication between the government and protesters to resolve the conflict.

And the hardline CGT union, hoping to capitalise on the movement, has called for rail and Metro strikes next Friday to demand immediate wage and pension increases.

The protests began on Nov 17 with road blockades against rising fuel prices but have since ballooned into a mass movement against Macron's policies and top-down style of governing.

Arguing that such a move was necessary in order to boost investment and create jobs, the former investment banker has so far ruled out reimposing the "fortune tax".

But Macron's office has said he will stick to his decision to cut a "fortune tax" on high-earners, abolished a year ago in a bid to boost investment.

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