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More violence in Paris as gilet jaunes protests enter 13th weekend | World news

Category: Political Protests,Politics

Thousands of French gilets jaunes (yellow vests) demonstrators marched on Saturdayin what was their 13th weekend of action. There were scuffles in Paris and a demonstrator’s hand was mangled by a small explosive.

There was also an overnight arson attack on the Brittany residence of the National Assembly head, Richard Ferrand, though no immediate link was made to the actions against President Emmanuel Macron.

The demonstrations, named for high-visibility jackets worn by the protesters, began in mid-November over fuel taxes. They have since broadened into a more general revolt against a political class they view as out of touch with common people.

In Paris, several thousand people marched on Saturday beside symbols of power such as the National Assembly and Senate.

The demonstrations were mainly peaceful, but some protesters threw objects at security forces, a scooter and a police van were set on fire and some shop windows were smashed.

One participant’s hand was severely injured when he tried to pick up a so-called “sting-ball grenade” used by police to disperse crowds with teargas, a police source told Reuters.

Another man had blood streaming down his face in front of a line of riot police.

The interior ministry put the total number of protesters around France at 12,000, including 4,000 in Paris. The police source, however, said numbers were higher, with 21,000 demonstrators taking part in rallies outside Paris.

“We’re not children, we’re adults,” said Hugues Salone, a computer engineer from Paris, who among the chanting and placard-waving protesters. “We really want to assert our choices, and not the choices of the politicians who do not live up to them.”

Leaders of the movement have denounced the police for injuring protesters, but have also struggled to contain violence from their own lines.

Politicians from across the spectrum condemned the arson attack on the home of Ferrand, a close ally of Macron and president of parliament’s lower house.

He published pictures on Twitter of a scorched living room, saying police found materials soaked in fuel. Ferrand said criminal intent was the likely cause, although the perpetrators’ identity was unclear.

“Nothing justifies intimidations and violence towards an elected official of the Republic,” Macron tweeted in relation to the incident.


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