World News

France braced for 'day of rage' protests

France braced for 'day of rage' protests

Around 70 people were arrested Saturday, December 8 in the Belgian capital Brussels during copycat "yellow vest" demonstrations rocking neighboring France, police said.

Police estimated that around 1,500 protesters had gathered in the area.

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

Shouts of "Macron, resign" mingled with the tear gas near the famous Champs-Elysees avenue, the scene of the worst rioting in Paris for decades last weekend. Angry protesters on Saturday tried to rip the boards off.

A group of a few hundred took side streets and tried to get past a police barricade, and police fired back with tear gas.

Thirty-two people have been remanded in custody.

While scattered scuffles broke out on Saturday around central Paris, the action seemed less violent overall at noon than at the same time a week ago, when crowds defaced the Arc de Triomphe, one of the city's most revered monuments, and rampaged in the surrounding high-end neighbourhood. 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 city subway system was shut down in the centre of town.

He said the protests had "created a monster" and vowed a zero-tolerance approach by police to violence.

"The Paris Agreement isn't working out so well for Paris".

Police are searching people throughout zones of central Paris and confiscating goggles and gas masks from journalists who use them to protect against tear gas while covering demonstrations.

Some protesters Saturday attempted to block the Porte Maillot dual carriageway, which is a toll-free route into Paris.

Police spray protestors with pepper spray during a demonstration in Brussels Saturday Dec. 8 2018. Hundreds of police officers are being mobilized
Police spray protestors with pepper spray during a demonstration in Brussels Saturday Dec. 8 2018. Hundreds of police officers are being mobilized

The "yellow vest" movement in France originally started as a protest about planned fuel hikes but has morphed into a mass protest against President Emmanuel Macron's policies and top-down style of governing.

Demonstrations at some 280 schools against stricter university entrance requirements have added to the feeling of discontent in France amid the continuing "yellow vest" protests.

Rows of helmeted, thickly protected riot police blocked their passage down the Champs-Elysees toward the heart of presidential power. On Monday he had a discreet lunch with anti-riot police officers in eastern Paris, again without press.

Officials are also concerned about far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups like Black Bloc that have mimicked the "yellow vest" movement.

Mr Macron, who has not spoken in public since he condemned last Saturday's disturbances while at the G20 summit in Argentina, will address the nation early next week, his office said.

The U.S. State Department has upgraded its travel advisory to a level 2 for France, warning travelers to exercise increased caution because of the protests.

"I don't want to have kids because I have trouble feeding myself, let alone another mouth", the 25-year-old told the AP, saying he came to Paris to demonstrate and "defend myself".

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday evening met a delegation of self-described "moderate" yellow vests who have urged people not to join the protests.

By mid-morning, 343 people had been detained in Paris, according to a Paris police spokeswoman.

So far four people have died and hundreds have been injured during the protests. Christmas markets, national soccer matches and countless other events have been canceled or hurt by the protests. Anti-government yellow vest rallies also took place in nearby Belgium and the Netherlands.

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 previous year. He said the demonstrations illustrate why he didn't sign the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

More news: Cavs to re-acquire Dellavedova in 4-player trade