Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Donald Trump slams Paris Agreement in tweet commenting on French riots

French troops deployed in Paris amid ‘yellow vest’ protest France gears up to face new riots; Paris shuts down
Andrew Cummings | 09 December, 2018, 04:59

A ring of steel surrounded the Elysee Palace as police stationed trucks and reinforced steel barriers in streets throughout the entire neighbourhood.

Police barred some provincial "yellow vest" protesters from boarding trains to Paris in an effort to prevent a repeat of last week's rioting.

He vowed "zero tolerance" towards those aiming to wreak further destruction and mayhem, after dozens of vehicles were torched, shops looted and the Arc de Triomphe war memorial was wrecked last Saturday.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday postponed a proposed hike in the country's tax on gas and diesel fuel, meant to encourage more usage of electric vehicles, but it doesn't seem to have derailed the protests.

The anti-government demonstrations are being led by the so-called "yellow vest" movement, named after the safety jackets carried by motorists in France, fuelled by anger over President Macron's tax reforms.

Demonstrators stand near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees avenue Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris.

Authorities said 575 people had been searched and briefly arrested and that 361 of them remained in custody after police found potential weapons such as hammers, baseball bats and metal petanque balls on them.

Police posted a video on Twitter of officers tackling a protester and confiscating his unsafe material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

On Tuesday, Philippe announced the government would suspend planned fuel tax increases for at least six months to help defuse weeks of protests, marking the first U-turn by Macron's government since he came to power 18 months ago.

A police spokeswoman told reporters there were about 1,500 protesters on the Champs Elysees boulevard. So the protesters tried other routes, marching through the prime shopping district that includes the high-end stores of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and the Palais Garnier opera house. Violent clashes took place between protesters and the authorities, large fires were set, and barricades were erected in Toulouse, while in Bordeaux protestors threw Molotov cocktails at riot police.

Pictures taken this morning show protesters in their yellow vests approaching police. More than 250 people have been arrested. No injuries have been reported. It had pitted a line of security forces, backed by two armored vehicles, against protesters, some lobbing objects and cherry bombs to taunt police.

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Many members of the protest movement are calling for calm, and some struck a conciliatory tone after meeting the prime minister Friday night, in a last-minute bid to cool tempers.

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

"According to the information we have, some radicalized and rebellious people will try to get mobilized tomorrow", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told a press conference on Friday.

Protesters, using social media, have billed the weekend as "Act IV" in a dramatic challenge to Macron and his government's policies.

Four people have died in accidents since the unrest began November 17 and Christmas markets, national soccer matches and countless cultural events have been canceled due to the protests.

Shops around the Champs-Elysees boarded up their windows and emptied them of merchandise on Friday, while the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and other museums were shut.

None of the yellow vest protesters have said they are demonstrating against the 2015 deal.

French police clashed in Paris on Saturday with protesters staging a fourth weekend of "gilets jaunes" demonstrations against the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

But while the government has since scrapped the increase, the demonstrations continue, by a movement with no clear leadership or demands.

In the Dutch city of Rotterdam, a few hundred protesters in the high-visibility vests walked peacefully across the Erasmus Bridge singing and handing flowers to passers-by.

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