Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Unrest returns to Paris with worst yellow vest violence in weeks

Unrest returns to Paris with worst yellow vest violence in weeks

Frank Leblanc, 62, from Nantes, said: "It was hot wind". It was useless and it didn't achieve anything.

Protesters dismiss Macron's national debate on the economy as empty words and a campaign ploy to gain support for the European Parliament elections in May.

The rally was called to coincide with the end of two months of public debates called by President Emmanuel Macron to give voters a forum to air their grievances and propose policy changes.

The yellow vest groups represented teachers, unemployed people and labour unions. "Macron has given us no big solutions in the big debate".

"I'm glad there are the thugs, because without them our movement wouldn't get any attention. We need the violence so we can be heard".

Macron cut short a weekend ski trip in the Pyrenees to return to the capital on Saturday night after the violence, the Elysees presidential palace said.

Macron's government ordered police to crack down on the protests in January, leading to complaints of police brutality after a series of injuries.

To be fair, Yellow Vests protests seemed to be fizzling out recently.

A vehicle burned outside the luxury boutique Kenzo, one of many blazes on and around the Champs-Elysees.

A Longchamp luxury handbag store was also set alight, along with a restaurant specializing in mussels and the terrasse of a large cafe and several of Paris's iconic green-domed news kiosks.

Fouquet's is popular among celebrities and powerbrokers.

As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is vowing to "severely punish" the radicals responsible for rioting and setting fires around one of France's richest neighborhoods.

Police arrested almost 240 protesters as rioters looted stores around the Champs Elysees and wrecked the high-end Fouquet's restaurant. Speaking to reporters, he praised firefighters who saved people trapped in a building set fire by protesters.

Police tried to contain the demonstrators with tear gas and water cannons.

A Yellow Vest protester destroys a shop window during clashes with riot police forces on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on March 16, 2019, on the 18th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations called by the "Yellow Vest" (gilets jaunes) movement.

The violence started minutes after yellow vest protesters started gathering Saturday morning around the Arc de Triomphe.

The police on Saturday used tear gas and water cannon to repel protesters who gathered at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe war memorial, which was sacked by protesters on December 1 in scenes that drew global condemnation.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on French television that an estimated 10,000 yellow vest protesters were in Paris and another 4,500 protesters were demonstrating around France.

Eighty-two people had been arrested by the early afternoon, the police said.

The fire in the bank, which was on the ground floor of a seven-story residential building near the Champs-Elysees Avenue, was later extinguished.

As firetrucks rushed over, a mother and her child were rescued as the fire threatened to engulf their floor, Paris' fire service told The Associated Press news agency.

Protesters threw cobblestones at police at the Arc de Triomphe war memorial.

The protest was one of several planned in Paris on Saturday, where climate campaigners also gathered in their thousands to demand Macron go further on greening the economy.

Protesters chucked smoke bombs and other objects at officers along the Champs-Elysees.

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