French troops deployed in Paris amid ‘yellow vest’ protest

Paris riots

A worker clears debris in a bank as a man watches through smashed windows in Paris Sunday Dec. 9 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to comment on the ongoing riots in Paris, placing the blame for the protests on the Paris Agreement from which the U.S. withdrew a year ago.

Crowds of protesters first tried to march down the Champs-Elysees avenue toward the Elysee palace but were prevented by rows of police.

In eastern Paris, in Republique Square, protests were more quiet with no incident.

Prominent "yellow vest" Benjamin Cauchy has urged Macron to meet a delegation of protesters to defuse a situation that he said had brought France "to the brink of insurrection and civil war".

Police found hammers, gas masks and petanque balls during early searches, Johanna Primevert, a spokeswoman for the police prefecture, said in an interview with BFM TV. An AP video journalist was wounded in the leg as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on the Champs-Elysees.

The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum were among the many tourist attractions that closed for the day, fearing damages amid a new round of protests.

The yellow vest movement is crossing borders, with demonstrations planned in neighboring Belgium and in the Netherlands.

Others have made it personal and say Macron must resign, still fuming over his decision to cut taxes for the highest earners shortly after sweeping to the presidency past year.

ASSOCIATED PRESS A demonstrator wearing a yellow vest is covered in blood after getting in injured during a protest in Paris. Protesters ripped off the plywood protecting the windows and threw flares and other projectiles as they were repeatedly repelled by tear gas and water cannon. Subway stations in the city center also closed and the US embassy warned its citizens to avoid all protest areas.

The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) movement sprang up in late October against increases in fuel taxes announced as part of President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to pay for clean energy initiatives.

Clad in their luminous road safety jackets, dozens of demonstrators - who accuse President Emmanuel Macron of only looking out for the rich - gathered at dawn on the Champs-Elysees, the scene last Saturday of the worst rioting in Paris for decades.

"Now we await Mr Macron. Me, I'm not here to break things because I have four children", said protester Myriam Diaz. "But I still want to be here to say 'Stop, that's enough, this has to stop'".

Reuters A protestor clashes with French Gendarmes in Paris.

While the protests began over fuel taxes, they have snowballed into a wider movement against Macron, largely among people in small-town and rural France.

"The Paris Agreement isn't working out so well for Paris", he tweeted at 7:34 am.

Some remain focused on lowering fuel taxes and other financial burdens, saying low-income families in particular are paying the price for Macron's push to reform and revive the French economy. "We know that the violent people are only strong because they hide themselves within the yellow vests, which hampers the security forces", he said Saturday.

People feel the state is "confiscating the fruits of their labor to redistribute them in a system that is not satisfying", he said.

To Macron, this means not only Macron encouraging start up businesses in France, but he wants to turn France into "a nation that thinks and moves like a startup", as he described it shortly after his election in June 2017. They are not interested in a modern elite transforming the country. As the president himself, a former banker who served in a center-left government, has steered a slippery course, so have his opponents come from the entire political spectrum, coalescing around an issue to create the biggest pushback since he was elected in May previous year. More than 500 people have been arrested.

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