Clashes break out at yellow vest protests in Paris

Clashes break out at yellow vest protests in Paris

Clashes break out at yellow vest protests in Paris

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.

The predominantly female crowd descended in the morning on the Place de la Bastille, blocking traffic, before heading toward Place de la Republique, the France Info radio said.

Some 282,000 protesters showed up for the initial rally on November 17. Police counted 3,500 protesters in Paris.

The protest began as a grassroots French provincial movement with people donning high-visibility jackets, which by law must be carried by every vehicle in France.

The protest movement, which has now seen protests on eight consecutive Saturdays, was initially triggered by anger over an increase in fuel taxes.

Mobs again battled riot police in the French capital on Saturday, torching a restaurant boat on the river Seine at one point.

While the number of protesters has dwindled since December, the determination of a smaller but increasingly radical core of "yellow vest" protesters poses a dilemma for the government.

President Emmanuel Macron has offered concessions; however, they are not almost enough in the eyes of many protesters; and as the protests continue, so does the occasional violence that follows it. They also broke some windows and damaged some cars.

But the violence erupted when protesters tried to cross the river on a pedestrian bridge not on the official route from City Hall to the National Assembly.

Authorities have blamed the worst of the violence in recent weeks on anarchists, anti-capitalists and extreme groups on the fringes of the yellow vest movement.

Demonstrations started over planned fuel hikes, but expanded into complaints over Macron's broader public policies.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux meanwhile said he had to be evacuated from his office after the door of his ministry building was forced by persons who stole heavy machinery from the street outside.

It was the first big U-turn for a president elected 18 months earlier on a platform to break with traditional French politics and liberalise the heavily regulated economy.

Meanwhile, 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.

"When I see the millions spent on incredibly trivial things, when I see politicians using private planes and chauffeur-driven cars to get around (.) all this money spent is unacceptable", she told the Midi Libre newspaper.

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