France fuel protests: Tear gas fired in clashes in Paris

France fuel protests: Tear gas fired in clashes in Paris

- in World

Riot police and protesters have clashed in central Paris during a third weekend of nationwide “yellow vest” rallies sparked by rising fuel prices.

Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon on the Champs Elysees while masked protesters hurled projectiles at officers.

What began as protests over President Macron’s fuel tax has transformed into general anger at high living costs.

Mr Macron says his fuel policies are needed to combat global warming.

Earlier this week, he tried to strike a conciliatory tone, saying he was open to ideas about how the fuel tax could be applied.

But his speech does not appear to have gone far enough in assuaging people of the view that he is out of touch with ordinary people.

What is the latest on the clashes?

Saturday’s clashes began even before the official demonstration started in central Paris, as police locked down the popular tourist avenue of Champs Elysees and searched people as they were going in.

Several shops, banks and cafes had boarded up their windows before about 5,500 people descended on the area. The Reuters news agency reports that 65 people have been injured, including 11 members of the security forces.

Among the peaceful demonstrators, who held up slogans such as “Macron, stop treating us like idiots”, there were those hiding their faces with masks and goggles.

Police fired tear gas, water cannon and stun grenades to disperse protesters who were trying to tear down the barricades. A number of police officers, wearing protective gear and helmets, were spattered with vivid yellow paint.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who visited the scene, tweeted that there were “1,500 agitators outside the security perimeter who came to fight”.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said there had been 107 arrests.

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