137 people arrested as “Yellow Vest” renews in Paris

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French police had arrested 137 individuals in Paris by 16:00 local time (1400 GMT), as “Yellow Vest” protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s fiscal policy hit streets again on Saturday.

Citing the Paris police department, BFMTV news channel said 48 of the 137 individuals detained remained under police custody.

They were suspected of committing violent acts in the fringe of the fresh rally. Police found in their bags materials that could be used as projectiles, including stones, slings and hammers, the report added.

French authorities have banned rallies in the landmark Champs Elysees Avenue and the Arc de Triomphe monument, which often became flashpoint of clashes between the police and protestors in recent protests.

Some 30 metro stations were closed and many of shops were barricaded.

In Paris, 7,500 police officers have been poured in and armored vehicles were deployed to handle more threats of rioting that, according to the government, risks to taint the social movement’s 45th weekend of action, which coincided with a march for the climate and union-led demonstration against the pension reform.

After a relatively calm debut, a brief standoff erupted early Saturday morning when anti-riot police fired tear gas to prevent some demonstrators from cruising to adjacent streets.

Violence flared up after 1,000 anarchists, known as Black Blocs, infiltrated a march for climate.

TV footages showed hooded men wearing in black are smashing a bank’s window in the capital’s fifth district. A motorcycle and bins were torched, forcing firefighters to intervene.

More standoffs were reported as police officers, pelted with projectiles, fired tear gas to disperse the protestors.

“Yellow Vest” movement, which got its name from the high-visibility vests drivers required to have in their cars, was created on social media November last year to protest against a rise in carbon tax, which Macron said was necessary to combat climate change.

It has since turned into a bigger uprising denouncing the president’s fiscal and economic policy which protestors say favors the rich. Some of them asked Macron to step down.

As the social action has posed a serious challenge to his leadership, the head of state had offered a series of concessions that began with a drop of a planned high fuel tax, which inspired the nationwide uprising. Among other sweeteners, he proposed “an economic and social emergency plan,” worth 10 billion euros (11.02 billion U.S. dollars) to boost purchasing power.■

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