World News

French protesters rail against Macron

French protesters rail against Macron

President Macron is said to be on the verge of sacking the Paris police chief after "yellow vest" protesters rioted on the Left Bank and broke into a ministry.

Protesters were looking to boost the yellow vest movement as numbers of participants had fallen since the first Saturday protest in mid-November.

Clashes with police forces, tear gas and small street fires were again present during the demonstrations as has often happened for the past 8 weeks.

Yellow Vest protesters marched through Paris and other cities in protest of President Emmanuel Macron, whose government this week hardened its stance against them.

For the past two months, the "yellow vests" or "gilets jaunes" have been blocking roads, occupying highway toll-booths and organising weekly, sometimes violent, marches in Paris.

Driving the unrest is anger, particularly among low-paid workers, over a squeeze on household incomes, and a belief that Macron is deaf to citizens' needs as he enacts reforms seen as favouring the wealthy.

Since Nov. 17, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests - dubbed the Yellow Vests - have gathered in major French cities, including the capital Paris, to protest Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation. Protests were also held in other French cities.

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Ten people have died in connection with the protests, with most deaths taking place in traffic accidents related to blockades in November and December.

Former cinema icon Brigitte Bardot, who is known today for her rightwing views and animal rights activism, on Sunday said she understood what motivated the yellow vest movement.

Benjamin Griveaux - a government spokesman evacuated from his ministry in central Paris on Saturday when a handful of protesters in high-visibility vests smashed down the large wooden door to the ministry compound - denounced the break-in as an "unacceptable attack on the Republic". Television images showed hooded youths setting a auto alight on a side street, but there was no repeat of the unrest that erupted in late November, when shops were looted, banks vandalized and the Arc de Triomphe defaced.

Few turned out over Christmas and the new year.

"Everyone must regain self-control to bring about debate and dialogue", he urged.

"For her, it's about surviving", said one protester, 58-year-old demonstrator.


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